Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Lingua Franca Nova

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See also: Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Lingua Franca Nova 2 (approved)

Lingua Franca Nova Wikipedia[edit]

main page Requests for new languages (Wikipedia Lingua Franca Nova)
submitted verification final decision
This proposal has been rejected.
This decision was taken by the language committee in accordance with the Language proposal policy based on the discussion on this page.

The closing committee member provided the following comment:

The language proposal policy requires that a language have living native communities to serve as the wiki's audience and editing community. Lingua Franca Nova is classified by ISO 639-3 as constructed, and there are no known native communities. Unfortunately, this request does not meet the prerequisites for eligibility. —Pathoschild 20:57:19, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Proposal summary
Please read the handbook for requesters for help using this template correctly.
Lingua Franca Nova wiki stats (as of December 24 2007)
total=3,930;good=1,220;views=1,210,195;edits=13,237;users=290;admins=5 - roughly similar to Bavarian or Pashto.

Lingua Franca Nova is a relatively new proposal for an international auxiliary language. Begun in 1964 and first made public on the internet in 1998, it has drawn considerable attention. The community of speakers has grown to approximately 200, judging from yahoo group membership, contributions and readership of our independent wiki, and personal emails. We began our independent wiki in 2005 with the hopes of transferring it to the official wikipedia site after creating at least 1000 pages of articles. We have made every effort to keep a certain professional level to our wiki by creating pages along the lines of the Simple English wikipedia's suggestions at , rather than bot-style pages such as seen in a few other small wikipedias.

We do realize that we have about 100 pages that are lfn-specific, as well as a number that should be developed into separate wikitexts. We recently moved our tutorial (in English, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese simultaneously) to the English wikibooks site. I think you will find it to be of professional quality. Also, most pages are quite short. For example, there is a page for every nation that only contains very basic information and images, with the hopes that others will find them convenient places to begin additional detail. On the other hand, there are also many pages of some length. In any event, we recognize that there is much more to do. But being an official wikipedia will help draw interest and involvement.

On the language itself: Although developed independently and from the ground up, it ends up combining the best features of other, older IALs. Its grammar is exceedingly simple, based as it is on creoles. Its vocabulary draws from five romance languages, giving it considerable readability for westerners without being excessively burdensome to non-westerners. It is completely phonemically spelled. It easily adopts scientific terminology from the Greek and Latin. One can learn the basics in a few minutes and then move on to vocabulary building. Many people outside our community have commented positively on its simplicity and elegance.

We hope you find it worthy, and thank you for your consideration! George Boeree 14:07, 11 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lingua Franca Nova is one of the newer IALs around, but over the past two years or so we've been working on a parallel wiki to show that this is a serious language and with a large enough speaker base to create a Wikipedia. None of the 1,000+ pages were created by a bot and growth over the almost two years has been steady, so it's more a matter of whether the project should be moved over to Wikipedia or not than whether LFN should be recognized as a language - the wiki is going to continue to grow whether a proposal for Wikipedia is accepted or not, so in my opinion it's only a matter of time, and thus it would be best to approve it this time around as I see it as being inevitable. It might be interesting to have some discussion on this page though as I assume most people haven't heard of the language before. Mithridates 14:09, 13 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, for reference there was an interesting discussion on Auxlang a few weeks ago started by the following comment written by one of the members, not a huge supporter of LFN but more of IALs in general, and probably one of the best neutral introductions to the language and how it differs from other IALs up to now:

"I've mentioned that I consider LFN revolutionary in some respects--the first of a new breed of at-sight project. But I haven't explained why.
First, a quirk: It's one of the few auxlangs that's sound-based, not writing-based. That's why it doesn't have an "h," for example. It's also why it tends to simplify consonant clusters. I'm not sure being sound-based is the wave of the future, but it's certainly different.
But the more important point is that it defies the usual Euroclone paradigm: it is recognizable, but it doesn't try to look like a regular Romance language (Interlingua, etc.) or a Germanic-Romance blend (Occidental, Novial, etc.). Instead, it tries to look like a creole, and that's very big news.
The old model said that in order to be readable, a system had to copy Romance (or to a lesser extent Germanic) grammar. So we have the whole business of tenses (especially inflected ones), quasi-regularized verbs (usually not quite counting "es"), and so on. But this produces the Rube Effect or the "Uncanny Valley," wherein attempts to copy something make the deviations all the more repugnant. I usually thought Occ came out better here because it looks like a blend, so it has more freedom to deviate.
But LFN concentrates on familiar *lexical* forms, not familiar *grammatical* forms. Except for the participles, LFN largely gets by on the reader's recognition of words, not the grammatical forms they use. And that is revolutionary: it bypasses the Rube Effect while leaving guessability intact. If it followed the creole style a bit more consistently, it could wind up being easy for anyone with a Western vocabulary to learn and use, even if their native grammar was distinctly non-Western. That's a very large demographic, and such a language would be open to extra-Western influences as it grew, so it would be neutral in a very practical sense."

Arguments in Favour[edit]

  • Language does really exist, a good wikipedia will come out of this. -Markvondeegel 19:17, 11 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The professionalism of the vicivici site speaks well for the Wikipedia potential. If the users could access the Commons, they would be able to produce even better work that would be accessible (by LFN's very nature) even by those outside its specific community. - Ansric 04:39, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Conditional Support A living artificial language, but an ISO-code is really needed, unfortunately. Iwwwvdd-mhmi's-mvwg 16:56, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • With the small but agile LFN community is very well prepared for launching a LFN wikipedia. Esef 19:08, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • NEW: ISO 639-3 Esef 21:56, 19 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Aktiv, es hat eine Kode. Deutschlehrer 14:01, 6 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It is a one of few constructed languages with Cyrillic script. I support Лингва Франка Нова Wikipedia, if a Latin-Cyrillic transliteration will be implemented in it. A.M.D.F. 14:39, 28 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lingua Franca Nova is a young, but very promising language; in fact, it's astonishing that with Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, Novial and many, many others around, it apparently is still possible to come up with a similar project that actually works. I have a hunch that a Wikipedia in LFN could become a success, an therefore, I believe we should give it a fair chance. Especially if we take into account, that LFN already has a flourishing wiki project going on. IJzeren Jan 17:12, 24 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am a user of Lingua Franca Nova, though nowhere near fluent, I can nevertheless hold a conversation, and as thus I support it having a Wikipedia area. A few of my friends use it already and would probably be willing to contribute to things here. It's growing in popularity, and if Volapuk is allowed a section, having according to Wikipedia, TWENTY speakers, why not Lingua Franca Nova, with ">100"? InnocentOdion 13:10, 1 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arguments against[edit]

  • Having already discussed this on the list AUXLANG, I would like to record that I consider Lingua Franca Nova to lack the history, tradition and support required for a Wikipedia in that language. Among the IAL community, LFN is not generally regarded as a well-established language. It is clear that it lacks books and journals published in LFN, most importantly standard grammars and dictionaries. It seems to lack ISO or similar codes, and appears not to meet the requirements for obtaining them. I believe that LFN therefore fails to meet the Wikipedia criteria for constructed/artificial languages. I would consider LFN to be similar in status to Toki Pona, perhaps even less notable, and the Toki Pona version has been moved off Wikipedia. I believe that the LFN enthusiasts should continue to develop their wiki in its current location. Perhaps in ten years time, if LFN continues to develop, has standard grammars/dictionaries and some books published, and if it can obtain ISO codes, then it will merit its own Wikipedia, but at the present time it does not.

    There is a well-established IAL which lacks its own Wikipedia, that is Glosa, developed from Lancelot Hogben's Interglossa. It has a much better case than LFN for its own Wikipedia, and so I propose the setting up of a Glosa version instead.

    I have nothing in particular against LFN as a language. I also have nothing against IALs, in fact I actively supported the setting up of the Novial version, and have contributed extensively to the Ido and Novial versions. - Idojc

    While Glosa is a very interesting language, apparently no one is coming forth with a proposal. LFN, on the other hand, has quite a few enthusiasts quite willing to build a wikipedia. If LFN lacks journal articles, it is because those who are interested in constructed languages no longer use journal articles as their primary mode of communications! As for books, that will come with greater awareness, which in turn may come through a presence in the community of wikipedias. George Boeree 22:28, 5 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • LFN already has its own wiki and it's doing really well. What would be achieved by making it a Wikipedia is only negative:

    1. There will be a lot more vandalism and spam. There's no point in denying that Wikipedia has a major vandalism problem, and in fact on small Wikipedias with few moderators, the amount of spam added everyday exceeds the number of genuine entries. This is as of now not yet a major problem on the LFN wiki, so why make it a real Wikipedia and make sure it gets a vandalism problem?
    2. A lot of content would have to be sacrificed, because the LFN wiki isn't purely an encyclopedia. It also includes collaboration pages on extending the language (e.g. [5]), an e-newspaper ([6]) and a language course ([7]). By Wikipedia policy these things couldn't be part of an LFN Wikipedia. A 'real' Wikipedia for LFN would have less value than its present wiki.

    The existing LFN wiki is a useful means of improving the language (among others because of the Parolas Mancada page) and building a corpus. Once the language has more texts and more users, maybe my objections won't be valid anymore. But for now, an LFN Wikipedia will harm the language rather than benefit it. -- Troy

    Your arguments are well taken, Troy. I would point out, though, that the "non-encyclopedic" articles number less than 100, leaving us with over 900 (and growing) legitimate pages.George Boeree 22:35, 5 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Argument 1) imho is unimportant, and even not true for some small Wikipedias. E.g. in the ksh Wikipedia, where I am an admin, rc-patroller, and SPAM fighter, we have about 1 case of SPAM a month and 1 or 2 "stupid" edits needing attention a week at the moment. That is neglegible. We had roughly a dozen non-bot, non-minor edits a day, by average, in the recent time. --Purodha Blissenbach 16:46, 22 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For whom would this Wikipedia be? With the current number of speakers, the chances of someone actually reading a given article are truly slim. I have no doubt that there would indeed be many articles, but what is the point if there is hardly anyone to read them? Also: a lot of the given arguments in favour of an LFN Wikipedia seem to be based on the premiss that LFN is a real language, even a better language than other IALs. But that's not what this discussion is about! I do think LFN is a good IAL, but I don't believe it's ready to have its own Wikipedia yet. -- Medicine man 23:27, 4 September 2007 (CEST)
    I believe that having a wikipedia will greatly increase the interest in the language, which as is can be easily read by anyone familiar with one of the western romance languages, or by English speakers with just a slight familiarity with those languages. I would guess that Romanians would also find it relatively accessible. The interlanguage links raise the probabilities quite a bit - whereas with our own wiki, it is unlikely that someone will take a look at one of our articles. Also (although it is a weak argument), I would point out that there are a number of wikipedias with fewer speakers than ours George Boeree 22:28, 5 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • w:Lingua Franca Nova states that there are probably over 100 users of this language throughout the world, and for none of them this language is native. This raises two problems: 1) not enough contributors; 2) Wikimedia Foundation spreads free knowledge, while adding information LFN does not increase the number of people for whom free information is accessible: all LFN know at least one more language at native level. There is no reason whatsoever to create this wiki, strong oppose. MaxSem(Han shot first!) 09:52, 17 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General discussion[edit]

Lack of printed books and ISO code[edit]

In regard to lack of printed books, I would like to point out that this is a new world we live in: Grammars and dictionaries are online. So are enormous quantities of articles on every subject available. Even complete books are available! Print is no longer essential to demonstrate something's value.

In regard to Toki Pona, I must point out that, as fascinating as this project is, it is not in the same category as LFN. Even its inventor recognizes that Toki Pona is more a personal, philosophical tool than a potential IAL.

In regard to Glosa and other older IALs, please note that they are slowly declining in popularity. The primary reason for an LFN wikipedia is that it is growing and offers a different perspective on IALs that might renew interest in IALs. Perhaps an LFN wikipedia might increase the activity on other wikipedias!

Finally, the apparent obsession with ISO codes seems a bit, well, obsessive. If LFN had a wikipedia, perhaps it could get a code! George Boeree 16:30, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are many proposals rejected because there was no code, I think it would be unfair to approve this proposal when it hasn't got an ISO code. Please insure there is a ISO code soon, otherwise this proposal will be rejected, how hard your work on a testwikipedia is doesn't matter: no code = no project. Iwwwvdd-mhmi's-mvwg 16:35, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've noticed some projects being rejected for lack of a code but the following is also written on the language proposal policy page that seems to indicate that this rule isn't set in stone (emphasis mine):

The language should have a valid ISO-639 (search) or BCP 47 (list) code.
If there is no valid ISO-639 or RFC 4646 code, it should be a natural language or a well-established constructed language. The Wikimedia Foundation does not seek to develop new linguistic entities; there must be an extensive body of works in that language. The information that distinguishes this language from another should be sufficient to convince standards organizations to create an ISO-639 or BCP 47 code.

Mithridates 16:39, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The information that distinguishes this language from another should be sufficient to convince standards organizations to create an ISO-639 or BCP 47 code.

Why is there none yet? Iwwwvdd-mhmi's-mvwg 16:41, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good question. I'm not sure what the reaction was to the ISO application so I couldn't say. Mithridates 16:51, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ow, well because I've got nothing against this proposal (except ISO code issue) or against this language I'll give it conditional support. Iwwwvdd-mhmi's-mvwg 16:55, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
SIL ( is taking requests for ISO 639-3 codes until Sept 1. They're considering adding Toki Pona (check under, so LFN should be workable. Is that sufficient? Boeree could submit there--they have a couple forms to fill out. Ansric 03:35, 15 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Our request for ISO 639-2 has been turned down. We are now requesting "lfn" ISO 639-3. George Boeree 18:22, 15 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Our request for ISO 639-3 lfn has been granted. George Boeree 19:17, 16 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that someone above said that there aren't dictionaries and written materials published for this language. I respond with the following (from the English WP page):

Dr. C. George Boeree began working on LFN in 1965, with the goal to create a simple, creole-like international auxiliary language. He was inspired to do this by the Mediterranean Lingua Franca [2], a pidgin used in the Mediterranean in centuries past. He used French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan as the basis for his new language.

LFN was first presented on the Internet in 1998. A Yahoo! Group was formed in 2002 by Bjorn Madsen and today has over 180 members. Group members have contributed to the further evolution of the language. Stefan Fisahn created a wiki for the language in 2005 (see below) with over 1000 pages and 10,000 edits as of July 2007. A few issues of a journal called Orizones Nova (New Horizons) were published in late 2006 and early 2007.

Introductions and other materials are available in 12 languages. The "master" dictionary (LFN - English) has over 7500 entries. There are smaller dictionaries available in eight languages and a wikibooks tutorial (see below) in five languages. 21:30, 22 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I have noticed that on the existing wiki a lot of localisation has been done. I have also noticed that you are in the process of asking for an ISO-639-3 code, likely to be given or denied at the end of this month. You may want to consider moving your localisation effort to BetaWiki. If you do, please contact me first. GerardM 09:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The localisation of LFN is going really well on BetaWiki. With the ISO-639-3 code, the localisation is now part of MediaWiki proper. It will become selectable in MediaWiki with an update of that part of the code. It is already selectable with the code in BetaWiki. If you can spare the time, I do advise you to finish the localisation for at least core and the WMF extensions. This will also help with the argument that the languages can have a WMF project. Otherwise it will get you the full localisation when you upgrade to the to be released version of MediaWiki. GerardM 10:36, 20 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


According to our status page, we have one more hurdle to jump for eligibility: "ensure that there are a sufficient number of native editors of that language to merit an edition in that language. (For constructed languages, there must be sufficient recognition as determined by discussion.)" We have quite a few editors at our wiki site, and at least three of us could be considered "native." I am not certain what is meant by "sufficient recognition," but as one can see, the discussion above does suggest interest.

Regarding the riteria for final approval: "develop an active test project; it must remain active until approval (automated statistics)." We have an active wiki. Do we need to do anything extra to demonstrate our activity? Are our own stats (see above) sufficient?

Finally: "complete required MediaWiki interface translations in that language." The most-used MediaWiki messages are now translated. When time permits, I will certainly attempt to translate more.

Any additional advice would be welcome! George Boeree 19:39, 20 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A point of curiosity: On the "unofficial analysis" page - why was lfn "verified as eligible" two times, then returned to "discussion" status each time? George Boeree 13:13, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello George. The subcommittee is currently debating constructed languages. All natural languages are required to have native speakers, but whether this applies to constructed languages is uncertain. There is a majority consensus that a simple exception is not acceptable, but not yet any agreement on what requirement (if any) will be applied for constructed languages instead.
The point you mention above about "sufficient recognition" was originally used as an additional requirement, but much later interpreted by one member of the subcommittee as an exception from needing native speakers due to the rewording of the lead sentence. There is also contention on how the requirements for constructed languages balance against those for natural languages (particularly recent historical languages spoken by enthusiasts).
Lingua Franca Nova currently fails the requirement for native speakers, assuming that there is no living community that learned to speak Lingua Franca Nova from birth and uses it for routine communication. Its eligibility depends on what requirement will be applied for constructed languages instead of native speakers. —{admin} Pathoschild 16:37:39, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Going back one year (out of our many years on the internet), I found that the following people have either sent several emails in good lfn, contributed poetry and translations, or written articles for our wiki:

acrfonseca activeselective ajuhasz chlewey chuffable cosol danteferry ericlablu esef estanto europidjin fiziwig gameztrada gerhardhinze hdparedess innocentodion isaac_benharush jay_bullen jean_coveiro jjbowks kevinbsmith kevynbello kinghajj kuokpae mithridates mr_roy_mccoy muham_selim nick_hempshall qatama1 raybergmann rchrd_queen sambra1 sano senfglasi vilkoos

I am sure there are others that I missed. Of the preceding, several are fluent (not difficult in a language as simple as lfn). There are better than 200 others that presumably read lfn (since the group and the wiki are in lfn). Also, there is a high school facebook group (9 members) started completely independently of the group. George Boeree 14:33, 27 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can someone tell me if our present independent wiki is sufficient for satisfying the test wiki requirement?

Also, when might we expect a resolution to the "native speakers vs sufficient recognition" issue?

As you can imagine, the lfn group is in limbo (or is it purgatory?) until we know where we are headed: heaven or hell? The future of our project depends considerably on your decision.

Thanks, George Boeree 22:08, 1 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am not in any sort of official role so I cannot be authoritative on the subject. But I am very certain that, you wiki (for which I never received no response when I asked for an account, btw.) will suffice. It is much more "alive and kicking" than many smaller projects that got wikipedias, so imho there should be no doubt. --Purodha Blissenbach 02:53, 1 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have added an account for you! George Boeree

Current status[edit]

What is the current status of this request? Namely, if it will be allowed to go on, what are the conditions which should be met in order for this project to become elligible? Or is it still undecided at this point? Thanks, Malafaya 13:27, 9 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a dispute about the validity of constructed languages for new Wikipedias.I have argued that there is room for them. I have argued that by demanding stronger requirements for constructed languages, there should be a road open to them. The continued success of the Lingua Franca Nova and its localisation is imho a triumph of the validity of the language. GerardM 12:32, 10 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the update. When there's a consensus (or at least a decision) on the validity of constructed languages for new Wikipedias, please update this page. Cheers, Malafaya 00:58, 12 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Localisation effort[edit]

The localisation effort is currently at 100.00% 33.92% 0.00% 0.00%. It does qualify for a new language project. Because of the unwillingness of certain people to even consider constructed languages at all, I have proposed stronger requirements for constructed languages, full localisation (mediawiki and MWF used extensions) being one of them. The good news for this language is that they do benefit on their existing wiki if they are at release 1.12. GerardM 06:16, 4 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello, Gerard. Could you tell me what the four percentages mean and more precisely what I need to do to bring us up to the standards you propose? George Boeree
Hoi, The statistics are from Betawiki. Here it is explained what they mean. FYI we are now able to produce "language packs" these include the localisations since the release of the stable version. GerardM 09:57, 26 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The language is using both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. After creation of Wikipedia, an automatic transliteration system should be enabled, the same way as in Serbian Wikipedia. Transliteration is simple to implement. A.M.D.F. 18:28, 22 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since I am having to look into this transliteration stuff anyways, I might get that done 'one the fly' for you. I found the transliteration table at the German Wikipedia article, if there is anything else to take care of, best write on my talk page. Best wishes. --Purodha Blissenbach 18:00, 26 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]