Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Norman

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Norman Wikipedia[edit]

main page Requests for new languages (Wikipedia Norman)
submitted verification final decision
Application-certificate.svg This proposal has been approved.
The Board of Trustees and language committee have deemed that there is sufficient grounds and community to create the new language project.

The closing committee member provided the following comment:

The requested project was created at nrm: at an indeterminate date. Note that this request was approved before the implementation of the standardised Language proposal policy, and should not be used as a model for future requests. Shanel 02:57, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Proposal summary
Please read the handbook for requesters for help using this template correctly.
  • Notes/comments

Most of the information presented is for Jèrriais, not Norman as a whole, but it seems that a pan-Norman Wikipedia would be preffered by consensus, using Jèrriais as a standard dialect for meta-wiki purposes.

Number of speakers=: 2-3 thousand fluent (in Jèrriais), Up to 15,000 have some knowledge, in addition to speakers of Guernsey and Sark dialects, as well as continental Norman (estimated speakership of around 20,000, according to Magène.com). Locations spoken: Jersey (Norman is spoken throughout the Channel Islands and Normandy)

Related languages= Continental Norman, Dgèrnésiais, Sercquiais, French, other oïl languages

Norman as a language is native to Normandy and the Channel Islands. Jersey Norman, or Jèrriais, is the most-spoken, highest-profile, and most literarily accomplished of the Insular Norman dialects. Much more information appears to be available in and about it on the web (in part thanks to Les Pages Jèrriaises and the Section de la Langue Jèrriaise de la Société Jersiaise) than Continental Norman, as well. I am unaware of the speakership of Continental Norman (last I checked, a survey had not been done), but Jèrriais has thousands of speakers, and is generally considered the dominant dialect of Norman.

Jèrriais has a comprehensive Jèrriais-French dictionary, and an English-Jèrriais [update: The Jèrriais-English dictionary is now available. The English-Jèrriais dictionary is expected 2007] dictionary is in the works. Software, books, and cassettes are available to teach and learn the language, and it is being taught in Schools in Jersey. (I know that Continental Norman is being taught in some universities in Normandy, but I am unaware of other educational activitity among the dialects). Jèrriais has an ongoing radio program(me), and several books have been published in and on the language, including Jèrri Jadis and Histouaithes and Gens d'Jèrri.

Linguistically, Norman is one of the langues d'oïl, closely related to French, but with its own history reaching back hundreds of years (notably marked by the writings of Wace in the twelfth century, who may be considered the earliest Norman—indeed, Jèrriais, for he was from Jersey—writer), as well as its own idioms, grammar, and vocabulary. Major dialectal groups of Norman include Old Norman, the Insular dialects (two to four major living dialects, depending where one draws the line, and one dead), Continental Norman, and Anglo-Norman (the ruling language of England for a few centuries).

Unfortunately, as Jersey Norman has not yet been adopted as an official language (previously, this was felt unnecessary—the two political languages, English and Jersey French, have been Jersey's official languages), but work is being done on a GCSE program in Jèrriais, and extensive efforts are being made to revive the language. However, it is because of Jèrriais' lack of official status that it, currently, has no language code.

Needless to say, I support the creation of a Jèrriais wikipedia.--Jade Knight 23:50, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Support Many of these arguments seem to be based on the question of linguistic status—whether the language in question is "really" a different language or if it's a dialect of another language. Even as a linguist, I will say that this distinction is one that is often up to people who speak the languages/dialects in question, and is based on not just linguistic factors, but on many social, political, and other other such non-linguistic factors. That said, Jèrriais is not just a separate language as far as speakers call it, but is linguistically quite distinct from Parisian French and other dialects of French "proper". On top of that, there are enough speakers (and the potential for more) to warrant its own wikipedia. —Firespeaker 02:47, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Question: Would it be reasonable to have a single Wikipedia for Jèrriais as well as Continental Norman, Dgèrnésiais and/or Sercquiais? Some wikis do that kind of thing already for very closely related languages. Tuf-Kat 05:48, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
    • Certainly, I think there should be a single Wiki for for Insular Norman, where I expect Jèrriais would be the primary standard, but Dgèrnésiais could provide a secondary standard. Were there any Sercquiais interested, it could, in theory, provide a tertiary standard, if need be. Jade Knight 22:42, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
  • I have no doubt that Jèrrais is distinct enough from French to be considered a separate language. Apart from that, with respect to the very small number of speakers (and thus potential editors) I would very much welcome it if we could have a single Wikipedia that least covers all Channel Islands varieties of Norman (plus the continental ones, if possible). Arbeo 15:43, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
  • There's been some discussion among Norman speakers on French Wikipedia about the possibility of a Norman Wikipedia. I'd suggest that perhaps we seek a consensus on whether to start a pan-Norman version before proceeding to a Jèrriais ouitchi. Man vyi
    • Agreed. I had not seen this discussion, and I know very little about the current status of continental Norman (despite my best efforts), so I went forward with a Jèrriais proposal. Certain, we should talk to Les Nouormaunds d'France and decide if it would be better to have a "Norman" Wikipedia. In theory, I think it would be a great idea, though (it seems to me) that Jèrriais is different enough from Norman to cause some difficulty adopting any sort of acceptable standard. There seems to generally be a standard form of Jèrriais these days. Does such a standard exist for continental Norman? Jade Knight 22:42, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose a Wikipedia in Jerriais, but support one in Norman, where you can write Jerriais as well, of course. I would also applaud Picard, Gallo and Champenois Wikipedias! Caesarion [[User_talk:Caesarion|<small>Velim, non opto</small>]] 19:45, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Jersey language is difference to Norman in France, and Gurnesey language too. So I suppoprt it - Todmir
    • Of course these dialects are all different, but they are similar. That's why we have to fit them into one Wikipedia. The usage of both Jerriais en Dgernésiais is very low, even among the older generation, and continental Norman is in rapid decline. Especially when it comes to endangered languages like these, you must not open a Wikipedia for any variant. We'd better fit them all in one Wikipedia. There are 550 Limburgic dialects, and should the li: Wikipedia be broken up in so many new Wikipedias? When it is possible, combine your efforts and make bigger Wikipedias. In the end, that will benefit those endangered languages more than this kind of Balkanisation. Caesarion 10:58, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
      • Caesarion, you talk a lot about difference between dialects and languages. Jerriais and Dgernesiais are quite different in the first place. Besides that, Jerriais and Continental Norman in a single Wikipedia probably won't work. If Zeelandic should get a separate WP, which I think it should, then certainly Jerriais deserves its own as well. --Node ue 03:00, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
        • Node, there are two important differences. First: At the Dutch Wikipedia, you are not allowed to write in Zeelandic. At the Norman Wikipedia, you would be allowed to write in insular Norman. Second: the number of speakers is much lower for Jèrriais and Dgernésiais than for Zeelandic. Anyway, we might try the pan-Norman wiki first and consider splitting of Jèrriais and Guèrnésiais ones later. Of course I think three seperate Wikipedias is a better solution than no Norman Wikipedia at all. Caesarion 11:25, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
          • This is assuming that the Normans find Jèrriais an acceptable dialect. The impression I get is that, while they find it somewhat bizarre (the orthography is different, and the "th" must seem very unnatural to speakers of other dialects), they seem to not be particularly offended at the dialect that is being used. However, my experience is very, very limited (Man vyi's opinions here would be most helpful), and certainly I think we should try to find more immersed speakers to give us their opinions before deciding what would work better for the Norman population at large. Jade Knight 02:50, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
      • While I agree, in principle, the difficulty will be that Insular and Continental dialects, though similar, are still substantially different—enough to make mutual comprehension slow, even in the written form, if one is not very familiar with the other variety. Even some basic vocabulary like "to speak" ("pâler" in Jèrriais and "prêchi" in cont. Norman) are different. I am not opposed to a combined Wiki in theory, though I worry how any sort of standard would be upheld if it included all dialects, or if the fact that the two different major dialectal groups might make it difficult for users to use. One solution I can see is having two versions of every entry—one in Jèrriais, and one in Normaund. This could be done by having the primary entry being, perhaps, "Winston Churchill", and the second entry being "Winston Churchill (Jer) or (Nor)" (and being linked to from the other article)—essentially combining two separate wikis in one. Translation between the two dialects should be very, very easy for native speakers (meaning that conversion of articles would go very quickly), and it would allow most users to view the articles in the form they understand best. I am not convinced that a Norman Wikipedia would succeed without some sort of provision like this, however. Man vyi might know better than I, however, and I will, of course, defer to the consensus reached by native speakers. Jade Knight 14:02, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support, whether it includes continental Norman or not. If a unified wikipedia could be readily understood by all speakers it would probably be the better option. --Chamdarae 18:27, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support a Norman Wikipedia project on which each article should have an indication as to which dialect it is written in, using a namespace if possible (Jèrriais:Winston Churchill). I believe, however, that the Jèrriais language code should be je, in accordance with the Island's TLD and the established use of two letters for language codes. Grumpy Troll Talk
    • Two letter domain codes (such as .je) are national, not linguistic. Both two and three letter codes are used for languages. I support a 3-letter language code for Jèrriais (as there is no way we'll ever convince them to allow an ISO 639-1 [i.e. 2-letter] code for Jèrriais), but am fine either way. While the articles could be named "Jèrriais:Winston Churchill", we would need a "default" article, and I feel it would be easier for one of the languages to be pulled up as a default, and have that article link to the other dialects. Either the default could be Jèrriais or continental Norman, or the default could be whichever dialect the article is first written in, or whichever dialect has the most complete entry. I am of the personal opinion that multiple dialects would need to be supported, however, in a pan-Norman wikipedia. Jade Knight 02:50, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

**Support (N)-- Francisco García Duarte, 27-11-05 **Support (N)-- Gorka Redondo Lanzas, 27-11-05 **Support (N)-- Gustavo Camino Ordóñez These are most probably Andalucian speakers that unintentionally were added under this request. Caesarion 09:19, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

      • Would you also be willing to work on the Jèrriais wikipedia, as a native speaker? Jade Knight 07:29, 24 November 2005 (UTC)
      • I have some insight on the status of Norman in Normandy since my family has a vacation house in a village in the Cotentin. Last summer I actually went around and asked people about Norman - they just call it Patouais. The situation is in summary, that almost all people over say 40 years speak Norman. But then once you drop below that, the knowledge of Norman becomes virtually nil. As an example, in that village of about 140 people, I would say that there might be a no more than a dozen Norman speakers younger than 40. And they virtually never write it as far as I know. And that's in the Cotentin Peninsula where the situation is still better than in the rest of Normandy! However, there are several places that offer courses in Norman, especially in Universities and some schools. So that might be a potential group of contributors. Also, really take a look at this site [1], as far as I know that's the only group dedicated to Norman in Normandy. I'm sure they'll help. About the problem with different dialects. I'm active on the Alemannic Wikipedia which basically has contributors from a great variety of dialects. We don't really have any problems. The titles of the Articles are written in German so that people can actually search for them (because there is no Standard Orthography). In the articles we just mix dialects and it has worked out just fine. I'm sure it would work out fine with Norman. It even makes it all the more interesting to be able to see all the different variants. Also, I noticed that Norman speakers always enjoy dwelling on all the differences even between villages "c'est toute a fait different!" but when I asked if they still understood it, they were very clear that they did, with very minor problems.
        • Was this comment left by Clemens? Your perspective is appreciated, and we do need to decide if we want to make a pan-Norman wikipedia, or if we would prefer to keep this Insular. Unlike continental Norman (which you say there is no standard for), Jèrriais is now fairly standardized (for one, they're working on a GCSE for the language), and I expect that Jèrriais is more different from the continental dialects than they are from eachother, though I expect there would be mutual intelligibility (perhaps with some difficulties—Man vyi would know, as I believe he has had experience speaking with French Normans). Orthographic differences between Jèrriais and continental Norman are moderately significant, but what is more of an issue is that the two groups of dialects are very distinct politically, and, more to the point, continental Norman speakers speak French in addition to "patois", and Jèrriais speakers speak English in addition to Jèrriais. As such, you couldn't default to the "non-patois" language, because there are two, unless you just wanted all the English ones to redirect to Jèrriais articles, and the French to redirect to continental Norman articles. I'm going to contact a few (French) Norman wikipedians, and see what they think. Jade Knight 05:03, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
  • So I totally Support this project! Even though I can't really contribute (I can pretty much make out written Norman but can't speak a word of it) I think that a Wikipedia in this language would truly be worth it. --Clemens 03:53, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support, but enough native speakers must be found. Also, I couldn't say what would better: a "small" Jersian Wikipedia, or a "bigger" Norman Wikipedia, where Jersian speakers could also work. :o) Hégésippe | ±Θ± 08:02, 25 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Summary of the discussion so far:

Everybody is generally in favor of this new Wikipedia.
Nobody opposes it.
The only question is one of scope. There are three options:
1. a Wiki for Jèrrais only or
2. a Wiki for all insular variants of Norman (name?) or
3. a Wiki for all variants of Norman (Normaund?)

I for one (without being able to evaluate the exact weight of the dialect differences) would suggest to try and start with a general Norman wiki, for systematic considerations: such a "top down approach" would clearly show in pratice if a Wikipedia for all dialects of Norman works. If not, you can still spin off seperate regional editions later. The other way around it would be much, much harder. Plus the "top down approach" would allow for the fact that there aren't millions of speakers. As far as I'm concerned I'd support both a Wikipedia for the entire Norman language as well as one for the all Channel Islands variants. Arbeo 16:07, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

You make some very good points, Arbeo. While I think I'd prefer it if we kept the dialectal groups separate, if there is indifference or support for your suggestion by Man vyi, Hégésippe, and Fitzwarin (the only three Norman-speaking Wikipedians I know of), then I will support it, as it does make sense. Jade Knight 20:00, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
It's up to those who actually speak the language of course but I would say that the best thing to do is to include Continental Norman. For one thing there are so few Norman speakers in Normandy anyway (even less who own a Computer!) so you won't have a horde of Normans hijacking the wikipedia. I wrote to the organisation Magene and got a response saying that they would notify an English-speaking person among them. As far as I know the dialects are not that far apart (from what I have heard and from what I can deduce from a linguistic book on Norman). The region of Normandy where the language is still most common is the Cotentin, and I think that the Cotentin dialect is even closer to Jèrrais than the others. I found some links through which you can compare the two: [2] the song Sus la mé from the Cotentin and here [3] the Jèrrais translation.--Clemens 02:32, 3 December 2005 (UTC) (yes by the way, that comment about the state of Continental Norman was mine).
The two dialects are unquestionably intercomprehensible on paper, and if Norman speakers are as few as you say and I believe, then you may well be right about their participation. Certainly, for that reason, it seems that there may not be any harm in making a pan-Norman wikipedia. However, I still feel that it will be important to allow for different dialectal versions of the same page if desired (as the "tch"/"th" v. "qu"/"r" differences may rub some Norman users the wrong way, and trying to read the different dialect may be confusing to learners). One interesting aspect of a pan-Norman wiki is that it might require users to use more Norman than they would in isolated wikis (where they would be more likely, perhaps, to fall back to the national language in discussions); part of the Norman-speaking population are Francophones, and the rest are Anglophones. We just need the Normans to show back up and give their input once more. Jade Knight 08:27, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
As I said, I wrote to the organisation Magene in Normandy. I'm pretty sure that they will contribute once the project is online. One of them was already all exited about writing an article about Norman cider (!). The main problem is that they aren't that proficient in English and so are reluctant to participate in the discussion. --Clemens 21:09, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
That's good news (and it wouldn't bother me if they posted their thoughts in French or even Norman, but if they're hesitant, that's fine). I have a hunch that Tony LeSauteur, a Québécois who reads and writes Jèrriais well, might be willing to contribute, as well, but I do not know. At any rate, once we get this up and running, we'll see how it all goes. At this point, I think I'm for a pan-Norman wiki. Jade Knight 08:48, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I am going to propose that we start a test wikipedia for Norman using the guidelines suggested here. I also propose that we eventually establish the Norman wiki at nor.wikipedia.org. Any opposition? Jade Knight 08:48, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

  • @Jade Knight: Looks like things are developing nicely. I've just set up a test page for you. Feel to do with it whatever you want. For the final Wikipedia we might have to take "roa-nor" instead of "nor", due to technical reasons ("roa" the generic ISO code for romance languages, as Norman does not yet have a specific ISO code, see talk page). @Clemens: Just tell them they can use French here (Meta is multilingual), pas de problème! Arbeo 22:33, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Thank you. I'm not sure where to start with developing a test/home page, though. Maybe Man vyi will have some ideas. I would strongly prefer using a simplified code over roa-nor, but oh well (we'll see what we can do). Jade Knight 00:28, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

The test-wiki (Ouitchi) is coming along very well. Man_vyi has been the primary contributor. However, one interesting observation: Thus far, the test-wiki has kept over 90% Jèrriais. Only one article is partially written in a dialect other than Jèrriais, and even that was posted by proxy (so no speakers of other Norman dialects have thus far contributed to discussion on the wiki). Jade Knight 23:23, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Update January 16: The test-wiki has done extaordinarily well, with over 100 articles already. Activity has cooled down in anticipation of the full Wikipedia's creation—as soon as the Norman wikipedia is "official", progress should take off again (and others will be invited and encouraged to participate). Jade Knight 19:03, 16 January 2006 (UTC)