Talk:Submissions/Supporting languages, all of them

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA


as a professional linguist, this topic has always been of great concern to me, and the orientation of your proposed paper does not make sense, at least as written. (I was one of the people instrumental in having the claim removed that wikipedia is a project to build an encyclopedia "in all languages," which you appear to be aiming toward resuscitating, and which is simply not possible at the present and politically offensive.) the problem, which your abstract does not seem to acknowledge, is that most of the world's languages --at least 4000 of the 6000 you mention - *are not written*. that information is widely-known by all linguists, and easily available, even in wikipedia (see, eg,,, and many of the links off of these pages), so I'm not sure why you aren't aware of it. only a very few people within the Wiki community have even started to assess the important question--which you may mean to be addressing, but you don't say it--of how and why one would create an entirely audio wiki and who it would be for, how it would be used, and most importantly of all, whether the speakers of these (often small) language communities consider creating an audio wikipedia a priority. i don't truly know if you are not aware of this fact, or if you are choosing to ignore it, but the fact is that most of the languages with writing systems do have wikipedias. contrary to the assertions in your abstract, this information is quite widely available, and easily inferred from the list of wikipedias and of written languages. In addition to the many wikipedia pages mentioned above and the links on them, see the complete listing of world languages at, which includes information on the writing system (if any) for each language.

you may object that linguists have introduced transcription systems for most of these languages, almost exclusively based off the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA); but these systems are generally not in use by the speakers themselves. Suggesting the speakers learn these systems is highly political and far outside the purview of the Wikipedia project. You are getting into very delicate areas and it is one of many, but one of great importance to me, in which I wish Wikipedians were far more willing to do research and ask knowledgeable people before simply starting work. or at least read wikipedia on the topic.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 20:00, 10 mar 2012‎


Good afternoon Gerard,
I am attending WIkimania 2012, and I am much interested in your presentations about language support.
Maybe you will be interested in some notes I prepared in this regard for discussion at Wikimania workshops: en:User:Dmitri_Lytov/Wikipedia_in_the_future:interface,_globalization,_better_cooperation_and_communication.
Hope to see you at Wikimania. --Dmitri Lytov (talk) 19:11, 11 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]