Artificial languages

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Artificial language Wikipedias?[edit]

There have been discussions lately on Wikipedia-l and Wikitech-l as to whether we should have wikipedias for artificial languages, such as Klingon and Toki Pona:

There are other scattered discussions as well.

It seems to me that this subject should have input from the wider community. Have at it! -Rholton 14:52, 28 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, if people have the passion to write a Klingon encyclopedia, I certainly wouldn't try to stop them - not sure I'd spend much time on it myself though... Mark Richards 16:08, 28 May 2004 (UTC)


Of course, an encyclopedia in Klingon does not sound as serious as the English one. Maybe it's for this reason even intrinsically un-encyclopedic. But I still agree with Mark. After all, we already have several languages which take their raison d'etre rather from the language than the content. For example, the users of the Plattdütsc edition do so probably only for enjoying and cultivating their dialect. For real content, they certainly still look into the immensely German edition. (Plattdütsch is a local dialect in north-western Germany, something in the middle of German and Dutch, and every speaker of it certainly also speaks German). Oh, and we're probably rather discussing fictional languages as we already have an artificial language Wikipedia, and it's even one of the large ones with 10000+ articles: the Esperanto edition Sanders muc 16:22, 28 May 2004 (UTC)
"Enjoying and cultivating" a minority language is part of the reason, but it often goes beyond that. It often happens, even when the language has no monoglot speakers, that people nevertheless find it more comfortable to work in their mother tongue. For example, many Welsh speakers find it more comfortable to use Welsh than English, even though all adult Welsh speakers also speak English. (Well, except for the ones in Patagonia, but you get the idea.) Marnanel 01:56, 29 May 2004 (UTC)
If there's a Sanskrit Wikipedia, there should be a Klingon wikipedia. There's no non-artificial community of Sanskrit-speakers, and it's not a language of trade, scholarship, or statecraft. The Sanskrit wiki could only be a venue for Indology and linguistics nerds. Now, mind you, I love Sanskrit to death, but strictly speaking I don't think its current speech communities (the revival movements) have any more intrinsic validity than the Klingon speech community. -- कुक्कुरोवाच 18:06, May 28, 2004 (UTC)
I think I should have used the term constructed languages instead of artificial languages when I posted the subject. Still, I don't think this is just about constructed languages, although both Klingon and Toki Pona are constructed. I don't think I've heard anyone suggesting that Esperanto should not have a wikipedia. Klingon in particular does seem to strike some as inappropriate for a serious project.
Personally, I don't have any particular problem with a wikipedia based on a constructed language, even Klingon, so long as there is a community to support that wikipedia. I am concerned that a wikipedia with no regular use will become a haven for all sorts of off-topic pages. If we have, for example, 50 wikipedias that are each maintained by only a few people, who will regularly check for POV rants, vandalism, and even pornography? The only reason that Wikipedia works is that the community keeps it working. What happens to a town in which no one lives? (signing after the fact for the two previous paragraphs) -Rholton 22:30, 28 May 2004 (UTC)
I agree there should be Wikipedias in any artificial language spoken by a sizable number of people -- I guess anything that qualifies for an article (but in which 'pedia?...) could have their own version. I don't know if that would apply to Toki Pona, but I do support the klingon Wikipedia. TUF-KAT 20:44, 28 May 2004 (UTC)
I've already expressed myself in detail on the mailing list, so I don't want to carry on at length here. Suffice it to say that I support the right of those who want a Klingon-pedia to have one. The risks connected with rants, vandalism and pornography are no greater with an artificial language than with a "real" language. We have allowed for a Guaraní pedia; it's a real language, but who among us can go there to check that out. In the short run, I think that Klingon would have more traffic than Guaraní. Eclecticology 21:07, 28 May 2004 (UTC)
You are correct, Eclecticology, any tiny wikipedia is open to the same problems. I would ask, why do we have a Guarani pedia? Are there contributors there? Do we just leave an open pedia with no one watching it? Perhaps we should write-protect any pedia that has not had activity from a logged-in user for a defined perdiod of time, with a simple mechanism to have it reopened upon request (or better yet, anyone logging in would reopen it). -12.219.102.105 22:25, 28 May 2004 (UTC) Rats! Forget to login! That was me. -Rholton 22:30, 28 May 2004 (UTC)

There should be no encyclopaedias in silly languages, of which Klingon is a perfect example. — Chameleon 01:03, 29 May 2004 (UTC)

This is rather begging the question, though. Who's to define "silly", and what should it mean? Marnanel 01:56, 29 May 2004 (UTC)
Precisely. By this standard, Esperanto doesn't deserve a wikipedia either. ;) Kukkurovaca
Not so! There is a big difference between Esperanto and Klingon. Esperanto can't be considered a silly language since it is actually spoken in the world, used in Esperanto congresses and has a proper vocabulary. Klingon is an alien language, recently invented and with not many speakers. On the other hand, I think we should have a Klingon Wikipedia. Remember that Wikipedia is a community project, and if people are willing to write something in a language, no matter how "silly" that language is, they should be able to, as long as the language actually exists and there are some clearly-defined rules for it. On the other hand, I also think having a Wikipedia in Klingon is a tad unnecessary! I mean, remember that Wikipedia is designed to be an encyclopedia, a reference project, one that packs together the world's information so people can view it and add to it. Because Klingon is spoken by so few people, very few people would actually use it. What's more, no-one speaks it as a primary language (!) and therefore they would actually go to the English Wikipedia, or other Wikipedias, to actually get information. In this sense, the Klingon Wikipedia would simply be a novelty. Can Wikipedia afford to make such novelties part of its family? I think yes. Ronline 06:24, 29 May 2004 (UTC) from the Romanian Wikipedia
Just remember that Esperanto has a 100-year headstart on Klingon. :P In another 100 years, Klingon might well outstrip Esperanto (assuming that Paramount will let go of the copyright). thefamouseccles
Agreed on most counts.
The main point I'd want to quibble with slightly is the "not many speakers"; there are some speakers who regularly conduct discussion on the mailing list and speak the language at the yearly qep'a' (roughly, general meeting). So Klingon is used as a medium of communication; in some case, a daily medium. I'll grant that the number of speakers is small compared to the number of fluent Esperanto speakers, though.
(As for "no-one speaks it as a primary language", there's the oft-cited case of the child who was brought up bilingually in Klingon and English, so it was a native language for that child until his father stopped speaking it to him, IIRC because the child was unwilling to continue speaking the language and the parent didn't want to force it on him.)
In this sense, the Klingon Wikipedia would simply be a novelty. - and similarly with the Lojban Wikipedia, which I'd also like to see. But like you, I think that such novelties are not inappropriate for Wikipedia. -- pne 11:20, 29 May 2004 (UTC)
I meant that Esperanto and Klingon were both (or could both be called) "silly", not that they were comparable in other respects.Kukkurovaca 19:38, 29 May 2004 (UTC)
Although I would never contribute to it, I feel that we can have a Klingon wikipedia. As long as there are contributors to it, which I believe there are, otherwise there wouldn't be such an uproar about it. Waerth 08:49, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

I would add my support for a Klingon language Wikipedia because there seems to be a small community of folks who would contribute articles in this language to their respective language preference Wikipedia. I don't personally use Klingon but have known others who do and they are serious enough to learn its complexities. To judge against this community on the grounds of someone elses opinion of whether this language is worthwhile or not may only seem prejudiced and petty. For the sake of community building let's give Klingon language users their right to contribute articles to this fine project of making a multilingual free and open encyclopedia. Jay B. User:ILVI

I would not like to see a Klingon Wikipedia. My impression is that it would be purely an intellectual exercise, and, possibly, even, a site for intellectual competition. I basically only support natural language wikipedias and the few wikipedias based languages that are attempts at developing a universal language. --RoseParks 22:22, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

I will not lift a finger to help in building a Klingon wikipedia; but I absolutelly support its right to be built. -- Cimon Avaro 23:47, 30 May 2004 (UTC)
Also support, on a similar basis. When I was involved in the start-up of msn back in 1995 on a multi-lingual welcome page I included a Klingon phrase there and see no harm in including it, indeed there is a probable benefit as it helps people understand about linguistics and grammar. --Vampwillow 00:19, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

And as somebody who's not heavily into Star Trek[although I do like it] I'd also like to see a Klingon Wikipedia.

l33t speak wikipedia[edit]

Lets make a l33t speak wikipedia. --Masterhomer 03:49, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You might as well use the English wikipedia. l33t-speak isn't a language: it's a code for English, not much more advanced linguistically than Pig Latin. I think anyone who speaks a full-blown language, which can be used for everyday speech, writing and communication, should have the right to begin their own Wikipedia (I'm not sure that Toki Pona is complex enough to express everything a natural language can express, but I'll reserve judgment on that). No-one can use Ubykh anymore except for me, but I'd sure as hell be ticked off if someone told me that Ubykh was not appropriate for a Wikipedia. For some of the smaller languages - like Guaraní, Klingon and, say, Kurdish - a Wikipedia could be an excellent tool for bringing together a language community, and in the first and third cases, help prevent language death. thefamouseccles