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Wikimedia Language Diversity/Wikipedia Community Sustainability

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Want a bright future for your nation and its culture? Take it into your own hands — start contributing into Wikipedia in respective tongue and teaching others!
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

"Of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken today ... less than 5% ... can still ascend to the digital realm. ... To summarize a key result of this study in advance: No wikipedia, no ascent."[2]

— András Kornai

"Young people need language-related attractive role models to be interested in associating themselves with their heritage language. Such areas of language use as home and school are no longer good enough, folklore culture with its nostalgia of the past is not exciting at all. But constructing youth culture from outside is difficult — only youth itself can create its own culture and role models. This great challenge encountered by the modernizing community of the local language speakers requires attention."[3]

— Annika Pasanen, Janne Saarikivi

This page is dedicated to the project promoting and supporting sustainability of Wikipedias in various subnational/local/indigenous languages (Small Wikipedia Community Sustainability).

For a community to stay vibrant, its culture must evolve to integrate all realities and challenges of the current times. This can only happen if all those concepts are reflected in its language. By promoting documenting knowledge in various languages, Wikipedia is supporting diverse language communities, overall vibrancy of our culturally diverse human society, as well as safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The project is a documentation about best practices, FAQs, useful lists, project news, links to valuable multilingual materials, such as:

Project objective[edit]

To make sure that all languages of the world overcome the digital divide and start using digital realm possibilities to strengthen own vitalityby engaging more of their speakers in Wikimedia projects

Project nature[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation has committed itself to trying to build the world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
This is only possible if:

  1. no knowledge is lost and
  2. it's made available to all.

Preserving human knowledge is one of the values shared by all members of Wikimedia movement and Wikimedia Community.

The purpose of the project is to establish a framework supporting members of all ethnic groups indigenous to planet Earth (with particular stress on stateless nations) in their efforts to keep their respective national languages, traditional knowledge and inherent cultural capital vibrant in the globalizing world.

Project tasks[edit]

  • Supporting participant and community development
  • Communicating existence & importance of respective Wikipedias
  • Engaging existing readers to participating in respective Wikipedias
  • Growing readership of respective Wikipedias

See also[edit]

Useful links[edit]

Project origins[edit]

Project poster prepared for Wikimania-2017 Conference.
«Wikipedias in the languages of Russia» related language codes

The project evolved from Wikipedias in the languages of Russia, which were around 10% of total number of active Wikipedias in 2015-2016 & were having contacts thanks to their contributors meeting on Russian Wikipedia and at offline conferences organized by Wikimedia Russia or User Group type communities around Russia. Original Russian Wikipedia-based homepage of this on-going project is at Проект:Разделы Википедии на региональных языках России, which serves as a platform for cooperation and coordination of Russian Wikipedia active Wikimedians' efforts in promoting & growing respective Wikipedias. See project participants list

Project related discussions had own thread in Wikimedia Russia Mailing list.
Other forms of formal support included Main Page template and a multilingualism project at Wikimedia Russia's home wiki.


  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. Digital Language Death by András Kornai
  3. (Russian) "Для того, чтобы отождествлять себя с родным языком, молодежи требуются привлекательные образцы для подражания, связанные с этим языком. Такие сферы употребления языка, как дом и школа, уже не вполне достаточны, ностальгирующая по прошлому фольклорная культура нисколько не привлекает. Однако молодежную культуру сложно конструировать извне — только молодежь может сама соз давать свою культуру и образцы для подражания. Это представляет большую трудность для модернизирующегося сообщества носителей локального языка, на которую следует обращать внимание."
    Замятин К., Пасанен А., Саарикиви Я. "Как и зачем сохранять языки России". / Часть III. "Пути сохранения языков под угрозой исчезновения. Практические советы", Глава "Преподавание на языке меньшинства в школе", раздел "Что кроме школы и после школы?", 162 с. ("How to and why keep languages of Russia". / Part III. "Ways of preserving vulnerable languages. Practical advice", Chapter "Minority languages as a medium of instruction at school", section "What on top of and how about after school?", )