Talk:Requests for comment/Start allowing ancient languages/Appendix IV: Developing Ancient Language support

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This is avoiding the question of why? If someone is going to liaise with Germany, why should they spend time about Latin? Why not Yiddish (a major language their country almost completely annihilated), or Esperanto (another language the Nazis worked on annihilating)? Why not Frisian, Romani or Low German, to speak of current German minority languages Germany has signed an agreement to support? Why not Kurdish; Germany's 600,000 Kurds have huge advantages over their Eastern cousins as to working on Internet projects? Why not the German Wikipedia or Wikisources? Or they could work on getting photographs and documents that could support all WMF projects, or loosening up FoP rules that would also support everyone? Generally, Wikis are supported from within; why should the limited external support go to ancient languages?

I could do the same thing with India; why should anyone from the WMF spend time requesting help with Sanskrit, instead of the 21 other major languages that do have native speakers, or the over 400 other Indian languages (note there's only 331 Wikipedias, so a number of those languages don't have any Wikimedia projects.) Hindi had 300 million native speakers and is the 57th largest Wikipedia. Look at List of Wikipedias by speakers per article, and sort by fewest articles; India has ten languages that have more than a thousand speakers per article. Those language need the resources, not Sanskrit.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:02, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All good questions as ever @Prosfilaes: and a great list of many of my favourite language problems. Thus I think the way to think about this is thus:
(1) Ancient Languages are neglected minority languages too. Dwi'n siarad am Ladin ac ieithoedd hanesyddol heddiw, ond dwi'n deallt yn iawn sut mae'n teimlo ar gyfer siaradwyr ieithoedd lleiafrif G translate. Support mechanisms, if money and staff time is needed, can frequently address both, especially if this is planned for in advance; in other words, we need not make this an either-or;
(2) The specific needs of ALWs right now are about long term policy neglect which needs some short term attention and fixing;
(3) The cultural and informational value of Ancient Languages is undeniable. How this is understood by different groups in terms of active Wiki production is unexplored, (and needs the evidence gathering activities) but we cannot assert that this leads to no desire for help and improvement from the groups you mention. Attitudes are likely to be varied and involve a great deal of pride and other emotions related to the way many Ancient Languages are tied to current cultural identities and religions. In short, we will need to ask, not assume.
(4) The liason issues I mention will arise as needed, according to the kinds of information transfer and volunteer activities we plan for and encourage. We can evaluate these needs as they arise. No work, no value, no activty.
I will add all this in at a later point, once some more feedback has occured. --JimKillock (talk) 11:55, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ancient languages are not neglected minority languages. There's a difference between the language of a group of people who had their language displaced by some dominant majority and people whose language evolved, like the Romans and the Greeks. There are a few languages, like Cornish, that might fit both categories, but most ancient languages that haven't simply evolved have had their minorities destroyed or assimilated, or are so poorly documented that any modern writing in it would have to be based as much on conjecture as fact.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:49, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we mean, "minority grouping", sure. If we mean "minority" usage, no. I'm happy to use a different word, so let's say "less used". The point though doesn't go away. People who are trying to support actively used ancient languages have a very similar problem set to ethnic or community minority languages, such as policy neglect; underinvestment; paucity of support for new literature; paucity of learning materials; neglect in the education system; misunderstandings from the non-speaker community. At least some of those can be addressed together and are ideal for Wiki or open licenced project collaborations, some of which already take place, although less so on Wikimedia at present than I would like given its educational mission (here I am taking about content outside of WP). --JimKillock (talk) 05:44, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]