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Wikimedia Language Diversity/Sustainability

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Wikimedia Language Diversity

A project to support indigenous, minority, marginalized, less-resourced and other underrepresented
language communities to have access to their at-risk knowledge

Key resources
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

— Nelson Mandela

"The paradox related to preservation of language and culture is that they can only stay active by welcoming changes. Only dead languages and cultures can be fully preserved against change."[1]

— Annika Pasanen, Janne Saarikivi

[T]he time has come when ... a language has become only a tool, another means of expressing reasoning patterns. ... A language that continues its development is usually being used in all areas of life. Excluding the language from use in some field of human activity, be it some specific scientific discipline or a type of artistic pursuit, an industrial or services sector of economy, i.e. from generating more reasoning patterns, is blowing an irreversible damage that promotes language death. ... It's very important to aspire towards such a state of things, when any news are expected to be expressed by that specific language means.

— Gaynulla F. Shaykhiev[2]

There is a lot of work to be done: it is estimated that in order to cover all human knowledge, an encyclopaedia today should have over 100 million articles.

— Wikidata: the new Rosetta Stone

So what's the conclusion [from 1% rule]? Only that you shouldn't expect too much online. Certainly, to echo Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. The trouble, as in real life, is finding the builders.

— Charles Arthur[3]

To implement any of the tasks below, we need to attract more motivated volunteers, help them master the Wiki-Way & respective tools.

The priority goes to such tasks that increase:

  • Readership of Wikipedias & other Wikimedia projects in respective languages.
  • On-wiki activity


Improving ease of discovery[edit]

  • Search engine optimization (let's help Google, Yandex, Bing, etc. tell others about content we have)
  • Increase content utility
  1. Basic article stub with interwiki - an element of multilingual glossary
  2. Longer stub with interwiki - an element of multilingual encyclopedic dictionary

Supporting participant and community development[edit]

Communicating existence & importance of respective communities[edit]


Let the community know

Engaging existing readers to participating in respective Wikipedias[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. (Russian) "Парадокс сохранения культуры и языка заключается в том, что они сохраняются исключительно путем изменения. Только мертвые языки и культуры можно полностью обезопасить от перемен", from Замятин К., Пасанен А., Саарикиви Я. "Как и зачем сохранять языки России"./ Часть I. Многоязычное общество и многоязычный индивид. Глава "Изменяющаяся роль языков", 35 с.
    ("How to and why keep languages of Russia". / Part I. "Multilingual society and multilingual individual", Chapter "Evolving role of languages", p.35)
  2. (Russian) "[Н]астал момент, когда ... язык стал лишь инструментом, средством выражения образов мысли. ... Развивающийся язык находится обычно в общении во всех сферах жизненного цикла. Исключение хотя бы одной сферы, будь она разделом какой-то науки или искусства, производства или услуг, из общения на этом языке, т.е. из производства образов мысли, наносит языку непоправимый удар, способствует его вымиранию. ... Надо стремиться, чтобы новость ожидали из формулировок этого языка."
    Шайхиев Г.Ф. "Язык разума. Мы думаем и по-татарски, и по-русски, и по-английски..." Казань, изд-во «Хәтер»: 2000 ISBN 5-900004-83-X сс.230-231 Глава V Раздел 9 Асимметрия в эволюции мышления. ("Language of Reasoning. We (can) simultaneously think in Tatar, and in Russian, and in English..." /Chapter V Section 9 Asymmetry in evolution of reasoning)
  3. Charles Arthur "What is the 1% rule?" The Guardian, Thursday 20 July 2006 01.17 BST