Case of language links

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With bug #1004 at bugzilla.wikipedia.org I had the case of the first letter in the norwegian language links changed from uppercase to lowercase. E.g., "Norsk" was changed to "norsk". I requested this because I was under the impression that the language links should be written natively and that thus lowercase would be the correct form, as requested by User:Verdlanco for the nn link on the Wikipedia-l mailinglist.
(Dittaeva 09:36, 6 Dec 2004)

Hmm… To avoid misunderstandings, here is all that I have written in Wikipedia-l on the issue:
Bjarte Sorensen wrote:
Finally, I also suggest that, if these changes are made, the language names showing up in interwiki-links are changed from
Nynorsk ([nn:]) → Norsk (Nynorsk)
Norsk ([no:]) → Norsk (Bokmål) ([nb:])
I believe it would be more correct to use
[nn:] norsk (nynorsk)
[nb:] norsk (bokmål)
without any capital letters, since the interwiki name of a language shall be written in the language itself, and Norwegian does not capitalize any language names. […]
Or, we could assume that each new language is the start of a new "period", and therefore should be capitalized. But even then we must write "Norsk (nynorsk)" and not "Norsk (Nynorsk)".
Obviously, the proposal to rename did not come from me, and I have no strong feelings about capitalization of the first word. (I still believe that all lowercase looks better, but that goes for many other language names, too.)
--Verdlanco (user talk) 21:44, 2004 Dec 6 (UTC)

Even though the Norwegian languages are not the first ones to be written with the first character in lowercase (isiZulu is another) it seems to be the first widely used.

I think it is that way because MediaWiki is largely written by English contributors, the list has always been capitalized and nobody though about changing it, and perhaps people thought it would break some non-existing standard about having all language names start with an uppercase character.

I'd like this page to have a discussion where it is concluded by what kind of standard the language names should be written. If we agree that they should be written completely natively, then a list should be made for additional languages that should be decapitalized. User:Wolfram has suggested in a discussion about this on his talkpage that "svensk, dansk, islandsk, nederlandsk, fransk" should be changed. --Dittaeva 09:36, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I did not suggest that these names "should be changed". I suggested that if "Norsk" was changed to "norsk", the same change should apply to other languages (for instance those I mentioned). What I meant was that I was against the change from upper to lower case for one single language, and that the question ought to be discussed here at meta in general terms first, before we start asking for such changes for specific languages. Wolfram 17:16, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Standards suggestion[edit]

  1. Language names as shown in the "other languages" box should primarily (and always when concerning the MediaWiki public distribution) be written with the first letter cased by the rules of the concerned language.
    1. The Wikimedia communities concerned may choose to override this.
  2. The first character of language names as shown in the "other languages" box should primarily (and always when concerning the MediaWiki public distribution) be capitalized.
  3. The case of the first character of language names as shown in the "other languages" box depends on the style of the site in general and should be capitalized or lowercase depending on how other elements are dealt with.

Language names that probably should be decapitalized[edit]

  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • French
  • Icelandic
  • Polish
  • Slovenian (SL, apparent from statistics page)
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Toki Pona (which does not capitalize the start of new sentences)