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Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Ottoman Turkish 4

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See also the fifth request (open).

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.

A committee member provided the following comment:

Please see reasoning at Proposed decisions below, as well as the Closing comment below. For LangCom: StevenJ81 (talk) 14:07, 10 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • The community needs to develop an active test project; it must remain active until approval (automated statistics, recent changes). It is generally considered active if the analysis lists at least three active, not-grayed-out editors listed in the sections for the previous few months.
  • The community needs to complete required MediaWiki interface translations in that language (about localization, translatewiki, check completion).
  • The community needs to discuss and complete the settings table below:
What Value Example / Explanation
Language code ota (SILGlottolog) A valid ISO 639-1 or 639-3 language code, like "fr", "de", "nso", ...
Language name Ottoman Turkish Language name in English
Language name لسان عثمانى‎ lisân-ı Osmânî Language name in your language. This will appear in the language list on Special:Preferences, in the interwiki sidebar on other wikis, ...
Language Wikidata item Q36730 - item has currently the following values:
Item about the language at Wikidata. It would normally include the Wikimedia language code, name of the language, etc. Please complete at Wikidata if needed.
Directionality no indication Is the language written from left to right (LTR) or from right to left (RTL)?
Links Links to previous requests, or references to external websites or documents.

Project name Wikipedia "Wikipedia" in your language
Project namespace usually the same as the project name
Project talk namespace "Wikipedia talk" (the discussion namespace of the project namespace)
Enable uploads yes Default is "no". Preferably, files should be uploaded to Commons.
If you want, you can enable local file uploading, either by any user ("yes") or by administrators only ("admin").
Notes: (1) This setting can be changed afterwards. The setting can only be "yes" or "admin" at approval if the test creates an Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP) first. (2) Files on Commons can be used on all Wikis. (3) Uploading fair-use images is not allowed on Commons (more info). (4) Localisation to your language may be insufficient on Commons.
Optional settings
Project logo This needs to be an SVG image (instructions for logo creation).
Default project timezone "Continent/City", e.g. "Europe/Brussels" or "America/Mexico City" (see list of valid timezones)
Additional namespaces For example, a Wikisource would need "Page", "Page talk", "Index", "Index talk", "Author", "Author talk".
Additional settings Anything else that should be set
submit Phabricator task. It will include everything automatically, except additional namespaces/settings. After creating the task, add a link to the comment.

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Ottoman language was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire from (1299—1922). It is related closely to modern Turkish, Arabic, and Persian languages.

Arguments in favour[edit]

Comment - Is any variety of Anatolian Turkish written in the Perso-Arabic script? Other Oghuz Turkish languages, yes (Salar is one that jumps to mind), but Turkish Latin script has completely erased it within Turkey proper; even Gagauz has adopted the Latin script, though retains a Cyrillic holdout. I agree that Ottoman Turkish texts written in Perso-Arabic script should belong on Turkish Wikisource (possibly with transcription versions into Latin script), but this isn't really an argument for a unifying policy on all Turkish Wikis. Benjitheijneb (talk) 01:49, 12 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support: I strongly support this Wiki. Ottoman Turkish is a precious language. We still have Old English Wikipedia. Why not having Ottoman Turkish as well? This variety of Turkish is taught in schools in Turkey

UnuTerano (talk) 11:14, 27 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]

  • Support -- It is actually a living language with a sufficient amount of people who understand it and sufficient contribution. Just because it is not official anymore, that does not mean that the language itself is extinct. A language that was spoken nearly a millenium up until the 20th century and is so rich in literature should definitely deserve an own Wikipedia. Btw we also have old english Wikipedia and other old languages that do not even exist anymore except in old books. --Kabulistani (talk) 21:23, 4 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Arguments against[edit]

  • Excuse me if I'm wrong, but does anybody actually use Ottoman Turkish now? I thought it's an older form of Turkish which was rendered obsolete with the introduction of Modern Turkish following the Ottoman Empire's fall; by that definition, it would be considered extinct with no native speakers (since merely understanding it, as I can imagine Modern Turkish speakers would, cannot be equated to native speaking). I can understand most of Middle English, but that hardly makes it a living language; if the same is true of Ottoman Turkish and Modern Turkish, how can it possibly survive as a wiki? Does the Foundation even accept languages without native speakers? Benjitheijneb (talk) 03:15, 21 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • NEVER: ISO says it is a historical language. Historical languages are only allowed to have Wikisources, and even then it would be grouped with the Turkish Wikisource. as it currently is. Why do so many people try to get by the language policy?--Seonookim (talk) 08:56, 1 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Against Ottoman Turkish is a historical language. Very few people can read and understand it. That's why I'm against it. There will be no more contributors. I can read and understand Ottoman Turkish but I am against it. --Turgut46 17:07, 26 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

General comments[edit]

@Lousyi, Tarih, Uishaki, Seonookim, and Aplikasi:@Nikosgranturismogt, Kafkasmurat, Turgut46, Kurdbuddha, and Humberto del Torrejón:@UnuTerano, Kabulistani, Benjitheijneb, WhisperToMe, and Prosfilaes:@Aplikasi, Farvartish, and Asdfugil: Currently members of langcom think that "This is a large, periodically active test. It last had pages added in June 2018. It's different enough from modern Turkish that I don't think a script converter does the job here. I'm not sure why this would be less eligible than Coptic, for example, given its historical importance and literature. Thoughts?" How do you all think about it? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:21, 11 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I'm still not a fan of Wikipedias in dead languages, and this has the extra concern that it's likely just to be a political fork of the Turkish Wikipedia.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:36, 11 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I don't know why I was invited into this, but nevertheless I'm siding against this - or, for that matter, a Coptic Wikipedia, for much the same reason; Wikimedia projects are conducted in living languages by well-established policy (barring those dead languages grandfathered into the new policies), not in historical registers of modern languages. It would be equivalent to an Early Modern English Wikipedia, in effect. Merely being taught academically is not in itself distinction as a living spoken language; there is nowhere in the world today where the Perso-Arabic script is used to write Turkish, and the different vocabulary is no less than a chronolectal variation.
Just as languages with standard forms do not have a different Wiki per dialect, so too does a historical variety of a language not warrant a Wikipedia; even languages which exist in a state of diglossia (such as the Serbo-Croatian Wiki) or without a standardised form (I cannot recall an exact example, but I vaguely recall one of the Gallo-Italian languages) are placed on the same Wiki with page variants, and Turkish of any era is in neither category. As with Prosfilaes, I have a suspicion that this may be a political move, though to what end I can't imagine since modern Turkish, in its own Turkish Latin alphabet, was already charged with political and national symbolism from the onset. If such a project were to exist, it would be purely as an academic exercise in an extinct literary exercise, and would be best placed as a Wikia outside of the realm of the Wikimedia cluster. Benjitheijneb (talk) 01:43, 12 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]
And another new message in Aug 20: Is there a robust enough literature to support this? Are there enough people who actually study and use this language (even in writing) to make it worthwhile. I don't think a script converter would do the job here, and Ottoman Turkish tends to borrow more heavily from Arabic and Persian than modern Turkish does. Thoughts? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 08:51, 2 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I would imagine there's enough surviving literature, but the only people who would be in a position to use the literature and contribute would be academics.
@Benjitheijneb: @Prosfilaes: Are there any movements in Turkey to return to Ottoman Turkish (both alphabet and vocabulary)? I haven't heard of such a movement, and I'm not sure if there is a strong backing to return to that from the Islamist side of things. Personally I would be against it if it was an Islamist political movement, but I'm not as against it if it was just an academic exercise so long as there was enough vocabulary left over to use it (I believe one of the reasons Coptic didn't make the cut was that there wasn't enough modern vocabulary left). Also we do have a Wikipedia in Standard Latin (while there are people learning/using the language today it's not a common language among the people), Old English, and Classical Chinese.
WhisperToMe (talk) 02:10, 6 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I don't know much about Turkey politics; I just feel it's a fork of the Turkish Wikipedia, serving the same people; if it is successful, the distinctions are almost certainly going to be political.
Ottoman Turkish was the language of an empire until end of World War I. I expect it to be entirely comparable to WWI-era German or English; missing really modern terminology, but with the full power and vocabulary of a modern language. I used to own a large English-Ottoman Turkish dictionary, and that was a brick, larger than any but an unabridged dictionary.
I don't know about Classical Chinese, but Latin isn't quite a dead language; it has many speakers and new, serious works created in it on a regular basis. Old English would never be approved for a Wikipedia today.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:29, 6 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Prosfilaes: Re: the similarity, a Turkish writer stated that: "Its relationship to modern Turkish is similar to the relationship of Middle English, which uses many French words, to modern English." (my emphasis added) and "Ottoman Turkish is a difficult and elitist language in terms of its script and vocabulary, and intentionally separated common folk from those who ruled over them. The speed with which the Latin alphabet was adopted by Turks and the purer form of Turkish that took hold under the republic attests to this." - An article in the Daily Sabah outlined how it's different: "The word structure in Ottoman Turkish is different and many of the words themselves are different. There is a different grammatical structure and the syntax is not the same. There are similarities; indeed, many of the same words are used, but there are also many words in Ottoman Turkish that are no longer used today." - This Quora thread talks about just how different Ottoman Turkish is to modern Turkish.
If indeed only living languages are approved, it would be a shame! Today Classical Chinese is not natively spoken nor written (as David Moser says in his article about Chinese), and even back then it was only used by a scholar class; any time they did speak it was affected by the pronunciation from someone's native province). Classical Chinese is a mandatory subject in Chinese secondary schools. Ottoman Turkish is studied in Turkish schools too (although as of 2014 studying Ottoman Turkish is optional). If anything Ottoman Turkish reminds me of classical Chinese.
WhisperToMe (talk) 09:23, 12 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Why would it be a shame? The core Wikipedias are the major international languages and the largest national languages. There's enough users of the smaller national languages and Esperanto and Latin to form useful Wikipedias. It's good to have non-national languages, from an anti-imperalist/colonialist perspective, and for helping preserve linguistic diversity, but for the most part, they don't seem to be producing Wikipedias that anyone uses. Classical Chinese, Old English, and Ottoman Turkish are dead, so they don't have the advantage of preserving linguistic diversity, and the first two aren't producing useful Wikipedias.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:00, 13 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I wholeheartedly support including more native languages, such as ones that are not yet commonly written down (like Egyptian Arabic already is, and I am still trying to get a White Hmong Wikipedia off the ground), but I also like the idea of having historical trade/elite languages for people who are interested in them in academic terms (as long as the languages have the vocabulary for modern subjects). IMO keeping Classical Chinese and old English, and adding Ottoman Turkish, won't interfere with the push for more native languages. WhisperToMe (talk) 18:20, 13 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Classical Chinese and Latin both fit into roughly the same category: those that continued as a literary language for a long period after they ceased to be a spoken vernacular, until eventually being superseded by other languages entirely (by Standard Chinese and most European languages respectively). Once again, the fact that a language bears scholarly and hobby interest, or even a revival movement which has not yet re-nativised the language, does not make it "living" for the purposes of qualifying for a Wikipedia; that is defined by a lack of native speakers or at least people who use it as their native written register (as is the case with, for example, Modern Standard Arabic, which is not natively spoken but is the standard written form of Arabic). As far as the differences between the languages are concerned for the argument for a separate Wiki, I give the example of Old English texts on Wikisource, which was an issue after this policy against dead languages was formalised; today, you can find Beowulf written in Old English (a stage of the language incomprensible to modern speakers) on the English Wikisource. There is a precedent for placing historical forms as appropriate onto the Wikis of their modern language equivalents, and given that the differences between Ottoman Turkish and Turkish are arguably lesser than those between Old English and English, I don't see much room for argument in favour of a separate set of Wikis for it. I have no idea if there would be any political motivation behind that proposal - like I said, I was not aware of political ramifications or proposals for Ottoman Turkish, but that there had been historically for what we now call "Modern" Turkish" - but irrespective of political consideration, the lack of native speakers or writers alone is enough of an issue. Benjitheijneb (talk) 18:01, 6 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Addendum: Should point out that this is also the fourth time this language has been proposed, and the reason for its refusal the previous times remains pertinent today: "It is the policy of the language subcommittee that only languages with living native communities may create new wikis. Ottoman Turkish is classified by ISO 639-3 as "historical", which means that it is an older form of Turkish. We have asked for evidence of living native Ottoman Turkish communities from various Ottoman Turkish requesters and publicly on other pages; while we received some evidence of non-native use (such as in academia), unfortunately none have been able to provide any evidence of native use." This situation hasn't changed, nor has the policy, so why would this proposal be more likely to succeed? Benjitheijneb (talk) 18:07, 6 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
@Benjitheijneb: If only living languages being used natively are accepted now, IMO it's kind of a shame since "Old English" did get a wiki, and that means old trade languages or "elite languages" (like Ottoman Turkish) that have literature can't be used. Ottoman Turkish is certainly "historical": there are certainly few, if any, living users, let alone speakers, of the language, and since it was like Modern Standard Arabic is in the today's Middle East or Latin in medieval Europe, I'm not sure if any of them are even native. Anyhow, I found an article that might clarify how different it is from modern Turkish: "The meaningless Ottoman Turkish debate." by SEMİH İDİZ (December 11, 2014) in Hurriyet Daily News stated that:
  • "Ottoman Turkish is not Arabic either, although it uses many Arabic and Persian words. Its relationship to modern Turkish is similar to the relationship of en:Middle English, which uses many French words, to modern English. "
  • Idiz stated that he couldn't read it, but even if he could read it per se, "I also find it difficult to understand the original vocabulary he used and even need a dictionary when I read his writings in the Latin alphabet. If I knew Ottoman Turkish, I would not have this difficulty. Fortunately, I can read him in the Latin alphabet and in the Turkish that I can understand."
  • "Ottoman Turkish is a difficult and elitist language in terms of its script and vocabulary, and intentionally separated common folk from those who ruled over them. The speed with which the Latin alphabet was adopted by Turks and the purer form of Turkish that took hold under the republic attests to this." (my emphasis added)
  • He did compare Ottoman Turkish to Latin: "Ottoman Turkish is also largely redundant today, when almost everything written and said by the Ottomans has been rendered into modern Turkish and can be read easily in the Latin alphabet." (I'm presuming people went through the Ottoman texts and "translated" them into Modern Turkish). He continues: "Nevertheless, keeping it optional in schools for the young people who are interested in it – and there are many who undoubtedly are – makes sense. It is like keeping Latin on the curriculum in Europe for those who are interested."
People do study it in school, much like people study classical Chinese (wenyan) in school in China, although as of 2014 studying Ottoman Turkish is optional. If anything this reminds me of Classical Chinese, which was only used by a scholarly class, as David Moser says in his article about Chinese: "classical Chinese is deliberately impossible. Here's a secret that sinologists won't tell you: A passage in classical Chinese can be understood only if you already know what the passage says in the first place. This is because classical Chinese really consists of several centuries of esoteric anecdotes and in-jokes written in a kind of terse, miserly code for dissemination among a small, elite group of intellectually-inbred bookworms who already knew the whole literature backwards and forwards, anyway."
On a side note I do see that the whether-to-introduce Ottoman Turkish classes debate has gotten controversy over whether it's creeping Islamism. Also see this article from PRI. So far though I haven't seen any movements to re-institute Ottoman Turkish as an actual "elite language" of the government.
WhisperToMe (talk) 09:23, 12 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]
BTW, according to Moser, Classical Chinese became very different from spoken vernaculars. The May Fourth movement replaced it with Modern Standard Chinese, much like Ottoman (Court) Turkish was replaced with Modern Turkish. From: Moser, David. A Billion Voices: China's Search for a Common Language: Penguin Special China. Penguin UK, 23 May 2016. ISBN 1743771754, 9781743771754. p. PT23.
  • "[...]Classical Chinese, called wenyanwen, 'literary language texts'. Though originally a parsimonious, highly stylised version of a Zhou Dynasty vernacular, Classical Chinese slowly 'fossilised' into a conventional textual language that became the scholarly standard."
  • "[...], although an extremely expressive vehicle for poetry and literature, had become completely divorced from any of the spoken vernaculars. [...]subsequent generations of scholarly elites were functioning in what was essentially a bilingual environment,[...]"
He states that in order to truly learn it one needs to have a lot of background knowledge as there is no punctuation and "stylistically favoured an extreme economy of expression"
I am interested in checking if Court Ottoman Turkish did have a basis as a highly stylized vernacular before drifting away from "Vulgar" Turkish, so that it was quite different by the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s.
WhisperToMe (talk) 18:30, 13 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Proposed decisions[edit]

I will implement these in one week unless I can be convinced otherwise:

  1. Request itself is to be rejected.
    • Policy generally opposes (non-Wikisource) projects in historical languages. LangCom is allowed to approve such projects anyway, if it sees (a) a compelling reason to do so, as well as (b) a substantial population of likely ongoing contributors to the project.
    • At present, nobody on LangCom has expressed support for this project, and nobody (on LangCom or outside it) has provided evidence of a substantial body of future contributors.
    • Additionally, there is fear expressed on this page that such a project would simply be a content fork of Turkish Wikipedia, which would be at best unnecessary and at worst harmful.
    • Based on the default position of policy, the request should and will be rejected.
      If new contributors come forward—and can demonstrate the existence of a body of people who will contribute, preferably from both within and outside Turkey—we would entertain a new request. However, a new request lacking evidence of this can and will be speedy-closed. And even if the new request is legitimate, we will encourage the contributors to create the project outside of Wikimedia.
  2. I intend to open a request on Incubator to delete the test project there.
    • It has been alleged that the contents of the test are merely pages from Turkish Wikipedia that have been transliterated to Perso-Arabic without attribution. That makes them copyright violations.
    • If someone goes to the test project and either (a) adds attribution to articles that are mere copy-and-transliterate pages, or (b) states that the content is new, then the test can stay on Incubator, per Incubator's more lenient test policy. (Choice "b" is only available to registered users.)
      Alternatively, if that happens, I can move the test out to the old or new Incubator Plus.
    • I will leave that request open on Incubator a full month. If nothing happens within a month, the test will be deleted. It will not be archived to an xml in this case, because it will be presumed a copyright violation.
      Update 8 October 2018: I am going to request discussion of archiving at Incubator, because there are almost 2000 pages of work here. I hate to see that totally wasted. StevenJ81 (talk)

Your comments are welcome. For LangCom: StevenJ81 (talk) 15:22, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for the notice! I posted a link to it here tr:Vikipedi tartışma:Büyükelçilik#Proposed decision from Langcom on the Ottoman Turkish Wikipedia: Closure, unless a group of editors who are interested in the language materializes in a week on TRWiki to give them a heads up WhisperToMe (talk) 14:06, 30 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Closing comment[edit]

  • Proposal is rejected, for the reasons outlined in the white box above.
  • I will shortly open a discussion at Incubator:Requests for deletion as to whether the test should be removed from Incubator or not, and if so, whether it should be archived or not. I am going into that discussion with an open mind. Please feel free to contribute there.

For LangCom: StevenJ81 (talk) 14:05, 10 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.