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millosh at gmail

Jul 10, 2011, 12:28 PM

Post #1 of 42 (1038 views)
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List of Wikimedia projects and languages

This time I've cleaned the list of Wikimedia [content] projects from
meta:Special:SiteMatrix [1] and calculated some numbers [2].

So, for statistics, there are:
* 270 Wikimedia languages (however, you would see below that the term
"language" is not quite precise)
* 270 Wikipedias
* 146 Wiktionaries
* 83 Wikibooks
* 29 Wikinews
* 67 Wikiquotes
* 58 Wikisources
* 12 Wikiversities
* 665 total content projects

There are:
* 12 languages with all 7 projects
* 16 languages with 6 projects (usually without Wikiversity)
* 22 languages with 5 projects (usually without Wikiversity and Wikinews)
* 16 languages with 4 projects
* 24 languages with 3 projects
* 59 languages with 2 projects
* 121 languages with 1 project
* 19 languages with all projects "closed".

Note that just small number (if any) of closed projects are actually
closed. The most of them is possible to edit.

Interesting part in this part of statistics [3] is that Wikimedia
projects are by number of projects dominated by languages with smaller
number of projects. 121 languages with just one project (up to now
exclusively Wikipedia) have 44.81% share in the number of Wikimedia
languages, but also 18.20% share in the number of all Wikimedia
projects (which is the biggest share).

Fortunately, Wikimedia projects are dominated by individual living
languages [4]: 240 of 270 languages.

22 of the rest of Wikimedia languages are treated [by SIL] as
"macrolanguages". That definition is vague: from practically the same
languages up to the groups which could be treated as language family.
Anyway, it says that we have a number of not solved issues related to
the projects which serve multiple languages.

We have 8 Wikipedias in constructed languages, 5 in historical, 3 in
dialects or different written forms, 2 in individual living languages
but without ISO 639 codes, and one in revived language (Manx).

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:SiteMatrix
[2] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Missing_Wikipedias/List_of_Wikimedia_projects
[3] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Missing_Wikipedias/List_of_Wikimedia_projects#Number_of_Wikimedia_projects_per_language
[4] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Missing_Wikipedias/List_of_Wikimedia_projects#Number_of_Wikimedia_projects_per_language_type

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amir.aharoni at mail

Jul 10, 2011, 12:40 PM

Post #2 of 42 (1027 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/10 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>:
> and one in revived language (Manx).

Ahem.

The definition of a "revived language" is very controversial, but if
you count them, don't forget Hebrew (120,000+ articles) and Cornish
(2,000+ articles).

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
"We're living inAhem pieces,
I want to live in peace." - T. Moore

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millosh at gmail

Jul 10, 2011, 12:47 PM

Post #3 of 42 (1033 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 21:40, Amir E. Aharoni
<amir.aharoni [at] mail> wrote:
> 2011/7/10 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>:
>> and one in revived language (Manx).
>
> Ahem.
>
> The definition of a "revived language" is very controversial, but if
> you count them, don't forget Hebrew (120,000+ articles) and Cornish
> (2,000+ articles).

Better construction would be "the language in the early stages of
revival". We'll have one more soon (Livonian). Both Cornish and
especially Hebrew are living languages.

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millosh at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 1:45 AM

Post #4 of 42 (1021 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 21:28, Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail> wrote:
> * 270 Wikimedia languages (however, you would see below that the term
> "language" is not quite precise)

One note: there are 270 languages counting Simple English as a
constructed/controlled language. If it isn't counted, there are 269
languages.

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emijrp at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 2:32 AM

Post #5 of 42 (1021 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinct_language

"It is believed that 90% of the circa 7,000 languages currently spoken in
the world will have become extinct by 2050, as the world's language system
has reached a crisis and is dramatically restructuring."

How is Wikipedia going to affect this language disaster? WMF 2050 goals
ideas : ) ?

2011/7/11 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>

> On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 21:28, Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail> wrote:
> > * 270 Wikimedia languages (however, you would see below that the term
> > "language" is not quite precise)
>
> One note: there are 270 languages counting Simple English as a
> constructed/controlled language. If it isn't counted, there are 269
> languages.
>
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andreengels at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 3:24 AM

Post #6 of 42 (1022 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM, emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail> wrote:

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinct_language
>
> "It is believed that 90% of the circa 7,000 languages currently spoken in
> the world will have become extinct by 2050, as the world's language system
> has reached a crisis and is dramatically restructuring."
>
> How is Wikipedia going to affect this language disaster? WMF 2050 goals
> ideas : ) ?
>

Assuming your ideas of affecting this would be through getting projects in
these languages, I think there is very little we can or should do. The very
factors that make them likely to go extinct soon are also the factors that
make them not very suitable to inclusion in our projects: They are in the
great majority languages with a small number of speakers and without a
written tradition. They are also mostly spoken by villages and tribes that
until recently lived in relative isolation (in regions that have been
influenced by nation states for several centuries like Europe or eastern
China, most languages incapable of surviving for a few generations more have
already gone extinct). All of these seem contra-indications against having a
viable Wikimedia project. Which does not mean we should say no to them if
they knock on our door, but I think it would be a waste of resources to
actively promote them. Those resources I think would be better put to
languages that have a larger user base, but a relatively much too small
Wikimedia and general internet presence. That is, I'd rather work on getting
20 or 50 of the 1500 Niger-Congo languages to have large, useful, active
Wikipedias in 10 years than on getting 500 of them started.

--
André Engels, andreengels [at] gmail
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thogol at googlemail

Jul 11, 2011, 3:48 AM

Post #7 of 42 (1020 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

It won't be possible to save languages going extinct. Even if two or
three people start writing a Wikipedia in such a language, it will die
out as a spoken language, eventually, not later than it would without
a Wikipedia. I think it's nice to have a corpus of encyclopedic
articles in such languages, but more important for the goal of
Wikimedia to make knowledge accessible to all people of the world, is
that there is a useful Wikipedia in at least one language any given
person can read. I would estimate that we won't ever reach 300 (open)
Wikipedia language versions, because many of the smaller ones will be
closed sooner or later due to permanent inactivity, and that's
perfectly fine.

Th.

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emijrp at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 3:59 AM

Post #8 of 42 (1023 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

@Thomas and @Andre: I know that it is very hard to mantain a Wikipedia in
'remote' or 'almost extinct' languages, but, if we don't save as much as we
can of them (including words, grammar, culture, social values), how are we
going to offer 'all human knowledge' ?

How are we going to offer knowledge to every human being in the planet if we
have Wikipedias only in 270 of 7000 languages. How many people don't
understand any Wikipedia today?

2011/7/11 Thomas Goldammer <thogol [at] googlemail>

> I would estimate that we won't ever reach 300 (open)
> Wikipedia language versions,
>

LOL : ) That predictions use to be wrong. If we don't reach 300 languages in
2050 using editors, we will reach that milestone using
auto-translated-futuristic software.
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amir.aharoni at mail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:00 AM

Post #9 of 42 (1020 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/11 Thomas Goldammer <thogol [at] googlemail>
>
> It won't be possible to save languages going extinct. Even if two or
> three people start writing a Wikipedia in such a language, it will die
> out as a spoken language, eventually, not later than it would without
> a Wikipedia. I think it's nice to have a corpus of encyclopedic
> articles in such languages, but more important for the goal of
> Wikimedia to make knowledge accessible to all people of the world, is
> that there is a useful Wikipedia in at least one language any given
> person can read. I would estimate that we won't ever reach 300 (open)
> Wikipedia language versions, because many of the smaller ones will be
> closed sooner or later due to permanent inactivity, and that's
> perfectly fine.

I'll never lose hope that we'll have a full-blown encyclopedia in each
of the 7,000 languages, but even if we won't, it's still very much in
the scope of Wikimedia's mission to have full collections of free
texts in all of them - folk tales, religious texts, any spoken
recordings, whatever. So for many languages a WikiSource project may
be even more relevant than an encyclopedia.

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thogol at googlemail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:14 AM

Post #10 of 42 (1022 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/11 emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail>:
> @Thomas and @Andre: I know that it is very hard to mantain a Wikipedia in
> 'remote' or 'almost extinct' languages, but, if we don't save as much as we
> can of them (including words, grammar, culture, social values), how are we
> going to offer 'all human knowledge' ?

We offer this knowledge by having articles about the grammar, culture
and social values of these languages, and by having wiktionary entries
for the words of these languages. We do not need to have the human
knowledge *in* these languages. It would be nice, but it's not
necessary to reach the ultimate goal to offer all human knowledge.

>
> How many people don't
> understand any Wikipedia today?

Of those who can read at all, probably much less than 1%. The problem
are those people who can't read.

Th.

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emijrp at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:23 AM

Post #11 of 42 (1021 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/11 Thomas Goldammer <thogol [at] googlemail>

> 2011/7/11 emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail>:
> > @Thomas and @Andre: I know that it is very hard to mantain a Wikipedia in
> > 'remote' or 'almost extinct' languages, but, if we don't save as much as
> we
> > can of them (including words, grammar, culture, social values), how are
> we
> > going to offer 'all human knowledge' ?
>
> We offer this knowledge by having articles about the grammar, culture
> and social values of these languages, and by having wiktionary entries
> for the words of these languages.


I'm OK with this.


> We do not need to have the human
> knowledge *in* these languages. It would be nice,

but it's not necessary to reach the ultimate goal to offer all human
> knowledge.
>

Why not? Why do people need to learn English to read a complete
encyclopedia? Biased thinking.


>
> >
> > How many people don't
> > understand any Wikipedia today?
>
> Of those who can read at all, probably much less than 1%. The problem
> are those people who can't read.
>

Be careful, first 1% is from your pocket ({{citation needed}}), second 1% of
hundred of millions may be a lot of people.


>
> Th.
>
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amir.aharoni at mail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:27 AM

Post #12 of 42 (1022 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/11 Thomas Goldammer <thogol [at] googlemail>
> > How many people don't
> > understand any Wikipedia today?
>
> Of those who can read at all, probably much less than 1%. The problem
> are those people who can't read.

For persons who can't read it's far better to learn reading first in
their own language.

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
"We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace." - T. Moore

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emijrp at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:29 AM

Post #13 of 42 (1021 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/11 Amir E. Aharoni <amir.aharoni [at] mail>

> I'll never lose hope that we'll have a full-blown encyclopedia in each
> of the 7,000 languages, but even if we won't, it's still very much in
> the scope of Wikimedia's mission to have full collections of free
> texts in all of them - folk tales, religious texts, any spoken
> recordings, whatever. So for many languages a WikiSource project may
> be even more relevant than an encyclopedia.
>
>
Yep. Wikipedia community have to start to rescue that knowledge in danger.
Knowledge is being destroyed everywhere: digital (dead links) and analogical
(dying languages/cultures, places [without pics], etc).
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thogol at googlemail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:33 AM

Post #14 of 42 (1021 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

>
> Why not? Why do people need to learn English to read a complete
> encyclopedia? Biased thinking.
>

They don't need to learn these "big" languages, they already speak
them. The people learn other languages not because they want access to
Wikipedia, but because they want to communicate to more other people.
They would learn these languages also if no internet and no Wikipedia
existed, they did learn English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Tok
Pisin, what have you, long before Wikipedia.

Th.

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thogol at googlemail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:42 AM

Post #15 of 42 (1019 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/11 Amir E. Aharoni <amir.aharoni [at] mail>:
> 2011/7/11 Thomas Goldammer <thogol [at] googlemail>
>> > How many people don't
>> > understand any Wikipedia today?
>>
>> Of those who can read at all, probably much less than 1%. The problem
>> are those people who can't read.
>
> For persons who can't read it's far better to learn reading first in
> their own language.
>

Sure, it is. But, wake up, that's not how the world works. Children
who go to school do usually learn the official language or the lingua
franca of their region. And those who are not lucky to have access to
a school won't usually learn how to read anyway. Sure, one can dream
of a perfect world, where there is a school all the way up to final
graduation in any language of the world where children learn to read
and write their own native language, but that's a dream, not reality.
It would have maybe been possible to make this come true 100 years
ago, but it's not realistically possible anymore, most languages are
just moribund, children don't even learn them anymore. You can't fix
that.

Th.

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thogol at googlemail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:46 AM

Post #16 of 42 (1022 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

>>
> Yep. Wikipedia community have to start to rescue that knowledge in danger.
> Knowledge is being destroyed everywhere: digital (dead links) and analogical
> (dying languages/cultures, places [without pics], etc).
> _______________________________________________


Right! Digitalizing text corpora in any available language is an
important part of Wikimedia's goals to achieve. *That's* where we
really can do something, and that's what the foundation must support
more than it does so far. (The general wikisource wiki is a mess, set
some paid people down to clean it up and make it a platform that is
usable to digitalize texts in whatever language you come across,
ancient languages like Sumerian, or Old Mayan, or what have you,
included.

Th.

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millosh at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 4:46 AM

Post #17 of 42 (1019 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 11:32, emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail> wrote:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinct_language
>
> "It is believed that 90% of the circa 7,000 languages currently spoken in
> the world will have become extinct by 2050, as the world's language system
> has reached a crisis and is dramatically restructuring."
>
> How is Wikipedia going to affect this language disaster? WMF 2050 goals
> ideas : ) ?

Extinction estimates are outdated from the point of contemporary
technology. Many languages now have much more chances to survive than
it was during the time before Internet. And, unlike natural sciences,
that part of linguistics is based on older data.

Every language incorporated in Google Translate has a lot of chances
to survive. If Google starts to support smaller languages (or some
other project develops free to use translator), those languages will
have good chances to survive.

Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects are also important factor.
Stable open content projects on Internet allow people from all over
the world to contribute, which includes scattered diaspora, which
usually have better education.

There are also other factors. For example:
* Sorbian languages [1] (Upper [2] with 40k of speakers, Lower [3]
with ~10k of speakers) will survive as cultural artifact, connected to
the identity of Sorbians. It could be compared more with remembering
genealogical tree than as useful medium for communication. The fact
that Germany is rich country has two opposite tendencies: from one
side, Sorbians are fully integrated in German society and they tend to
know German better than Sorbian; from the other side, as German
citizens, Sorbians are rich and if they want (as they want) to
preserve the language of their ancestors, they have means to do that.
Former estimates didn't count any of Sorbian languages to have chance
to survive.
* Alekano language [4] (~30k of speakers) also wouldn't be counted
into the survivors. However, it has coherent community inside of the
diverse central Papua, it has university and university has internet
access (although expensive at the moment).
* However, language with the similar speakers population in rural
India doesn't have a lot of chances. Non-Han languages of China can to
be much smaller to have good chance to survive than Han languages of
China. And so on.

Note that estimates from the past (and likely from the present) count
that no language with less than 1M of speakers would survive 2050.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorbian_languages
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Sorbian_language
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Sorbian_language
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alekano_language

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emijrp at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 5:57 AM

Post #18 of 42 (1022 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

2011/7/11 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>

>
> Note that estimates from the past (and likely from the present) count
> that no language with less than 1M of speakers would survive 2050.
>
>
If Wikimedia projects and WMF leave to die 90% (or 80%, or 70%, or 60%) of
current languages in the next 40 years (we will be alive to see it,
probably), then both are failures.

Look this:
* http://blog.archive.org/2011/01/30/digitizing-all-balinese-literature/
* http://www.archive.org/details/Bali

And compare http://incubator.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wp/ban

Partnership between Internet Archive and Wikimedia Foundation is mandatory.
Second one has to learn a lot of the first one.

IA has a small staff too[1] (WMF boasts about that), but they are doing much
more to preserve and spread knowledge than Wiki[mp]edia projects.
Unfortunately they are only on the 213 of Alexa ranking.

[1] http://www.archive.org/about/bios.php
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millosh at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 9:46 AM

Post #19 of 42 (1020 views)
Permalink
Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 14:57, emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail> wrote:
> 2011/7/11 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>
>> Note that estimates from the past (and likely from the present) count
>> that no language with less than 1M of speakers would survive 2050.
>
> If Wikimedia projects and WMF leave to die 90% (or 80%, or 70%, or 60%) of
> current languages in the next 40 years (we will be alive to see it,
> probably), then both are failures.

I think (but I am not sure) that I posted this link [1] here a couple
of weeks ago.

Speaking just about languages, the situation is approximately the next:

speakers total speakers number of languages
100M+ 2,514,548,848 9
10M-100M 2,376,900,757 78
1M-10M 950,166,458 303
100k-1M 284,119,716 900
10k-100k 61,223,297 1837
1k-10k 7,823,891 2025
100-999 460,911 1039
10-999 12,664 343
1-9 528 134
sum 6,195,257,070 6,668

So, number of languages with less than 10k is approximately 45%, but
it is around 8M of people in total or 0,0015 of world population. It
is highly likely that that number of languages won't exist in ~100
years. (Some of those below 10k will survive, but some of those above
10k won't.)

To make those languages viable enough to survive -- much more work
than just our is needed. I am sure that 10% of military budgets of the
world countries for one year would preserve all languages, but that's
the other issue. Basically, that's not our failure as Wikimedians, but
failure of our civilization.

[1] https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=tCwO11tFPLPB-SJafDesypg&authkey=CPCE5pMB#gid=1

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thogol at googlemail

Jul 11, 2011, 10:54 AM

Post #20 of 42 (1019 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

>
> To make those languages viable enough to survive -- much more work
> than just our is needed. I am sure that 10% of military budgets of the
> world countries for one year would preserve all languages, but that's
> the other issue. Basically, that's not our failure as Wikimedians, but
> failure of our civilization.
>

exactly. Well, saving languages is a very nice goal and would be
great. But it wouldn't help Wikimedia´s goals. A lot of languages will
be vigorously passed on to the children also still in 2050. So don't
care about them? Nope, the contrary. These are exactly the languages
in which a Wikipedia makes real sense. Many of them are small
languages with less than 100k speakers, but still, if the right
efforts are made, we could get those into Wikipedia business. But, we
would need a boatload of money (yes, why not taking it from the
military budgets - but who should hand it over to us ;) ) to go around
the world to the speech communities and explain them how they can do
it, and support them in doing it during the first years. The other
languages, and it's a big majority, won't be passed on to children in
2050 anymore (or are already not passed on). Why? Because people pass
to their children the language that will help them most in their life,
which is probably the language they have to know to be able to go to
school. And additionally, a low-prestige language is very unlikely to
be passed on to the next generation, and let's be honest, there are
lots of attitudes towards languages, just think about certain dialects
of your own language. ;) Only if we could make it that their own
heritage language is that one that helps them most in their coming
life and that has enough prestige to be treated as a treasure rather
than a burden, they would pass that one on to the next generation.

Th.

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dgerard at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 11:04 AM

Post #21 of 42 (1020 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On 11 July 2011 13:57, emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail> wrote:

> If Wikimedia projects and WMF leave to die 90% (or 80%, or 70%, or 60%) of
> current languages in the next 40 years (we will be alive to see it,
> probably), then both are failures.


First thing would be a Wikisource or similar then. Just gather up as
much material as possible and get it online, in a manner that isn't
process-heavy (e.g. the recent description of the ridiculous faff to
get a thesis into Wikisource).

Do we have anything for languages without a written form? Shove
audio/video onto Commons?


- d.

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millosh at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 11:11 AM

Post #22 of 42 (1018 views)
Permalink
Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 19:54, Thomas Goldammer <thogol [at] googlemail> wrote:
> efforts are made, we could get those into Wikipedia business. But, we
> would need a boatload of money (yes, why not taking it from the
> military budgets - but who should hand it over to us ;) ) to go around

The most important serious work on formalization of Serbian language
in 1990s was done by US military. In other words, if you want to get
significant resources to make computers able to "read" your language,
you should just create climate which would lead to US intervention in
your country. Unsurprisingly, during the last decade Arabic was in
focus.

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node.ue at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 1:13 PM

Post #23 of 42 (1019 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

By hopefully having a Wikipedia in all 700 languages that will be around
then.

Language death makes me really sad, and there are lots of things that are
being done about it, and more should be done, but I'm not sure it's the
Foundation's job, just like it's not our job to save endangered species
(there are lots of great organizations working on both problems already).

2011/7/11 emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail>

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinct_language
>
> "It is believed that 90% of the circa 7,000 languages currently spoken in
> the world will have become extinct by 2050, as the world's language system
> has reached a crisis and is dramatically restructuring."
>
> How is Wikipedia going to affect this language disaster? WMF 2050 goals
> ideas : ) ?
>
> 2011/7/11 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>
>
> > On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 21:28, Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail> wrote:
> > > * 270 Wikimedia languages (however, you would see below that the term
> > > "language" is not quite precise)
> >
> > One note: there are 270 languages counting Simple English as a
> > constructed/controlled language. If it isn't counted, there are 269
> > languages.
> >
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> >
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node.ue at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 1:42 PM

Post #24 of 42 (1018 views)
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Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

To be honest, I don't think 10k is a fair threshold. Many languages with
hundreds of thousands of speakers will likely go extinct by 2050, due to
high levels of bilingualism and low levels of children learning the
language. This language shift is particularly acute on the American
continent, where some languages that have been able to survive and remain
relatively stable since conquest are now looking increasingly troubled and
threatened by Spanish. Even languages that can still be regarded as "safe",
like Quechua, can be said to be "melting at the edges" - though there is no
doubt Quechua will be alive and have millions of speakers in 2050, there is
a good chance that a good percentage of the grandchildren of living Quechua
speakers will only have a passing knowledge of the language.

With the rapid urbanization that is currently occuring in many parts of the
developing world, language death seems likely to accelerate. When you come
from a group of 100,000 speakers, and all of them move to a city where the
majority language is Nigerian Pidgin English, how many generations will your
original language survive? Chances are, not more than 3. Linguistic
diversity in Africa was still actually rising (!) until the early 1990s, but
since then it has begun a sharp decline, much like what had already
been seen in Europe, America, and Australia, with the difference that the
sharp declines in Australia and America can be attributed exclusively or
nearly exclusively to pressures from European colonial languages, while in
Africa there is also pressure from larger African languages like Swahili or
Lingala or Yoruba on smaller African languages.

When bilingualism reaches over 50% in a community, the only chance for
intergenerational language maintenance is if there is a higher prestige for
the native language than for the outside one. If the "prestige" of a
language is perceived to be less than that of a LWC (language of wider
communication), like Spanish or English or Swahili, and people are already
bilingual, the native language will very quickly fall into disuse, which is
followed by extinction.

Some people think that a large number of speakers is a good guard against
extinction, but unfortunately there are several cases of hundreds of
thousands or even millions of speakers of a language undergoing
intergenerational shift, and such "large" languages can go extinct very
quickly as well when there is very low prestige and very high bilingualism.
2011/7/11 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>

> On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 14:57, emijrp <emijrp [at] gmail> wrote:
> > 2011/7/11 Milos Rancic <millosh [at] gmail>
> >> Note that estimates from the past (and likely from the present) count
> >> that no language with less than 1M of speakers would survive 2050.
> >
> > If Wikimedia projects and WMF leave to die 90% (or 80%, or 70%, or 60%)
> of
> > current languages in the next 40 years (we will be alive to see it,
> > probably), then both are failures.
>
> I think (but I am not sure) that I posted this link [1] here a couple
> of weeks ago.
>
> Speaking just about languages, the situation is approximately the next:
>
> speakers total speakers number of languages
> 100M+ 2,514,548,848 9
> 10M-100M 2,376,900,757 78
> 1M-10M 950,166,458 303
> 100k-1M 284,119,716 900
> 10k-100k 61,223,297 1837
> 1k-10k 7,823,891 2025
> 100-999 460,911 1039
> 10-999 12,664 343
> 1-9 528 134
> sum 6,195,257,070 6,668
>
> So, number of languages with less than 10k is approximately 45%, but
> it is around 8M of people in total or 0,0015 of world population. It
> is highly likely that that number of languages won't exist in ~100
> years. (Some of those below 10k will survive, but some of those above
> 10k won't.)
>
> To make those languages viable enough to survive -- much more work
> than just our is needed. I am sure that 10% of military budgets of the
> world countries for one year would preserve all languages, but that's
> the other issue. Basically, that's not our failure as Wikimedians, but
> failure of our civilization.
>
> [1]
> https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=tCwO11tFPLPB-SJafDesypg&authkey=CPCE5pMB#gid=1
>
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millosh at gmail

Jul 11, 2011, 2:24 PM

Post #25 of 42 (1015 views)
Permalink
Re: List of Wikimedia projects and languages [In reply to]

On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 22:42, M. Williamson <node.ue [at] gmail> wrote:
> To be honest, I don't think 10k is a fair threshold. Many languages with
> hundreds of thousands of speakers will likely go extinct by 2050, due to
> high levels of bilingualism and low levels of children learning the
> language. This language shift is particularly acute on the American
> continent, where some languages that have been able to survive and remain
> relatively stable since conquest are now looking increasingly troubled and
> threatened by Spanish. Even languages that can still be regarded as "safe",
> like Quechua, can be said to be "melting at the edges" - though there is no
> doubt Quechua will be alive and have millions of speakers in 2050, there is
> a good chance that a good percentage of the grandchildren of living Quechua
> speakers will only have a passing knowledge of the language.
>
> With the rapid urbanization that is currently occuring in many parts of the
> developing world, language death seems likely to accelerate. When you come
> from a group of 100,000 speakers, and all of them move to a city where the
> majority language is Nigerian Pidgin English, how many generations will your
> original language survive? Chances are, not more than 3. Linguistic
> diversity in Africa was still actually rising (!) until the early 1990s, but
> since then it has begun a sharp decline, much like what had already
> been seen in Europe, America, and Australia, with the difference that the
> sharp declines in Australia and America can be attributed exclusively or
> nearly exclusively to pressures from European colonial languages, while in
> Africa there is also pressure from larger African languages like Swahili or
> Lingala or Yoruba on smaller African languages.
>
> When bilingualism reaches over 50% in a community, the only chance for
> intergenerational language maintenance is if there is a higher prestige for
> the native language than for the outside one. If the "prestige" of a
> language is perceived to be less than that of a LWC (language of wider
> communication), like Spanish or English or Swahili, and people are already
> bilingual, the native language will very quickly fall into disuse, which is
> followed by extinction.
>
> Some people think that a large number of speakers is a good guard against
> extinction, but unfortunately there are several cases of hundreds of
> thousands or even millions of speakers of a language undergoing
> intergenerational shift, and such "large" languages can go extinct very
> quickly as well when there is very low prestige and very high bilingualism.

Your reasoning is of Industrial Age: People come to the city, the only
way to be informed is through the local newspapers and, logically, the
grandchildren barely know language of their grandparents.

However, that's not the case anymore. People are using internet as
primary source of information more and more. And it is always easier
to read in native language, than in local lingua franca. Of course,
*if* information exist in native language and that *is* our job.

Three generations in our age is a lot. We are able to create
environment for thousands of languages In 50 years. Creating 100 new
Wikipedias per year is impossible task now, but, with properly
directed efforts we could reach that number.

Besides that, developing countries are becoming richer. It is possible
that many languages would be preserved in the way in which Sorbian
languages are.

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