Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Friday, April 20, 2007

Local-language roundup

Why utcursch doesn't contribute to Wikipedias in Indian languages:

Although I am capable of writing articles in at least two Indian languages (mr, hi), I don’t feel like contributing to these Indian-language Wikipedias, primarily because I believe that very few people read them.

Now-a-days, knowledge of English is becoming synonymous with Education, at least in urban India. More and more literate Indians can read, understand and write English today (In fact, it is widely believed that India has the largest number of English speakers in the World). Almost all of the internet users in India have knowledge of English and they primarily surf English-language sites.

Not that I’ve any dislike towards Indian languages (I’ve been involved with translation of FCKEditor, Moodle and Ubuntu), but when you feel that your efforts will go to vain, you just don’t feel like contributing.

Kelly Martin says the foundation should focus more on languages that are tied to a national identity -- that local-language wikipedias are a losing game in countries where English is associated with education and high status.

I'm not sure I agree. Wikipedias could potentially help revive the status of local languages -- but is that goal too ambitious/revolutionary/optimistic? It's hard to tell when, like me, you're a monoglot. I do remember showing the Farsi Wikipedia to one of my mom's Iranian neighbors, who was completely uninterested (he already know about the English Wikipedia).

Bèrto ëd Sèra writes on a similar topic. (Wow, there's a lot of traffic in the Wikiblogosphere these days. Drop out for a little and you fall behind.)


David Gerard said...

utcursch is right if Wikipedia is just a website. He's utterly wrong if we consider paper versions, which has always been part of the plan.

Ben Yates said...

Plus: en.wikipedia had an exponential growth curve, so the foundation's not going to be concerned if some languages still seem to be on the flattish part of that curve.

llywrch said...

"Drop out a little and you fall behind"? Heh, I'd say it's more of a case that one has to keep moving to stay up with things; pause for a moment to do something else (such as, say, write an article from scratch), & you've fallen behind. I bet in little or no time, "moving" will mean "run", not "walk". I blame Erik Moeller & his Planet Wikimedia for this development! (Yes, Erik, I'm joking.)


Ben Yates said...

Goes double if you're trying to keep a google reader sidebar. (Maybe I'll find a way to just embed utcursch's.)