Talk:Languages by language family

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Hoi, is this list only for the languages that we support ? GerardM 20:06, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

It only contains the languages that are supported and which have translators in Betawiki, yes. Jon Harald Søby 09:37, 22 April 2008 (UTC)


Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Maintenance of page - adding new languages2913:12, 21 July 2012
Localisation of page1618:06, 16 April 2012
Review of supported languages2713:01, 27 December 2012
Proposal to show total number of supported languages on the supported language special page115:01, 3 June 2011
Updating the language by language family page522:28, 17 April 2011
Who wants to use this page?221:41, 17 April 2011
Names in brackets421:17, 17 April 2011
Supported languages with no translators116:23, 17 April 2011
Guc - Wayuu215:10, 17 April 2011
Ethnologue errs with West Germanic languages.523:23, 17 April 2011
Inactive languages015:51, 19 March 2011
Note on English name for languages015:21, 19 March 2011

Maintenance of page - adding new languages

Is there a log somewhere of newly supported languages added to Or another place to find out which languages have been recently added? I would like to be able to review the supported languages every few months, in order to be able to add new ones to this page.

Lloffiwr15:42, 19 March 2011

Best check BetawikiSettings.php diffs and MediaWiki's Names.php diffs. I usually do not note newly supported languages on News, but I guess I should start doing that.

Siebrand16:18, 19 March 2011

Thanks. Once this page is up-to-date I will maintain it every few months. If I have to abandon it for lack of time, I will put a note here.

Lloffiwr17:26, 19 March 2011

I have made a script that collects the codes of language Portal pages having a "/translators" subpage and the links to portal pages in Languages by language family. Comparing the two lists, it produces Lists of listed languages without translators (currently none) and languages not listed despite translators (currently: tcy, rtm, pnb, wbl, mwv, vep, ln, tsd, liv, tk, pcd, wym, lzz, za, lzh, nov, guc, fiu-vro, en, dlc, lus, sma, sli, tokipona, bo, rue, lez, pdt, krj, tw, or, udm, och, chb, yrl, dum, sei, xal, kgp, bat-smg, vls, jut, ha, sc, saz, ur, num, rgn, inh, ug, sxu, prg, rap, vot, sr, min, pa, nah, nan, lij, mnc, roa-tara, rmy, nv, en-gb, mrj, vmf, mzn, sa, zh-classical, kg, pdc, sh, sl, sg, se, sd) Don't take these verbatim, /translators subpages could be empty!

The script is written in the Python programming language and uses the pywikipediabot framework to access It's output is currently somewhat simplistic. There is a copy at User:Purodha/ if you want to run it yourself, or make it better. I could upload it into the pywikipedia svn, or make a web page on the toolserver that runs it and dynamically shows its output, or whatever else good ideas you have, just tell me what you like me to do.

Purodha Blissenbach12:13, 25 March 2011

Thank you very much for providing a working list of potential languages for addition to the language map; that's saved me some drudgery. I understand the first paragraph but the second paragraph is beyond me, I'm afraid. Thank you for the offer for me to run this myself, but I have no idea about software, do not have the time to learn about it, bearing in mind that this page is not important, and am likely to botch the job if I tried! If you wanted to give me a list like that in the first paragraph every three months or so, then that would save me work, which would be appreciated.

If you have had fun designing a script for this, then that is well and good. I have been spending some time on this page myself as a fun break from other things on which require a lot more concentration. I think that we need to ask who, if anyone, would like to make use of this page, and for what purpose, before investing serious effort into the page.

That is partly why I asked the question about the inactive languages, because if this page is an illustration of the scope of then it is not very helpful to include the inactive languages.

Lloffiwr22:30, 25 March 2011

Yes, I had fun, slipping this in between much more complicated things, because it has been so easy and straightforward. I have made a slightly more sophisticated version and put it at User:Purodha/ again for anyone to use or read. I'll run the script every few months now and place the results here - no problem.

I suggest to simply make a note "(last activity: 2008-Dec-12)" or something similar next to the language name for those ones that are, say more than a year and a half without new translations, when new translations are pending for supported products. Would be nice if we could find a way to make them automagically disapear when activity comes back, but I've no idea how.

Purodha Blissenbach23:32, 25 March 2011

Thank you for the suggestion on notes on last activity. From my point of view, there will come a point where the amount of work needed to maintain the page will be more than the page is worth, which again raises the issue of how useful the page could be, and whether adding more detail will make it more useful still, or perhaps less useful if there is too much clutter. Time for a new thread I think.

Lloffiwr11:06, 26 March 2011

Thank you in advance for running the script every so often.

Lloffiwr11:07, 26 March 2011

Re-runnig the script produced these unlisted languages with listed translators:

  1. chb
  2. dlc
  3. dum
  4. hsn
  5. kg
  6. kgp
  7. krj
  8. lez
  9. lij
  10. lus
  11. mwv
  12. nan
  13. num
  14. nv
  15. och
  16. prg
  17. rap
  18. sei
  19. vmf
  20. wym
  21. yrl
  22. za
  23. bat-smg
  24. fiu-vro
  25. en-gb
  26. zh-classical


  • The last two are redirected to variantless portal pages. The next version of the script is going to filter redirects.
  • The two codes preceeding them are obsolete, and redirect to Portal:sgs and Portal:vro, respectively. The next version of the script is going to filter redirects.
  • "dlc" is an unassigned language code, at the moment. It had been deleted. Deleted versions of the Portal page say, in brief, summarized:
    Elfdalian language
    639-3 = dlc
    15924 = Latn
    translators: M.M.S. | talk | contribs
    note: The code dlc was removed from ISO 639-3 before its publication, but not because it is not a separate language, but for political reasons: Sweden threatened not to ratify ISO 639-3 unless they removed this code (along with scy Scanian).
  • "dum" stands for Medieval Dutch I think, but when I am not mistaken, it is not accepted as a language of its own right by many authors. Do we really use it somewhere?
  • "vmf" is currently defined in ethnologue but its definition is flawed in a manner that it is not obvious, which of three different and distinct central German vernacular languages is meant, that of the city of Mainz, capitol of Rhineland-Palatinate, that of the Frankfurt/Main vincinity in South Hesse, or that of big parts of Upper Franconia in Northeastern Bavaria. The first translator in the list takes it for the latter. Don't know about the others.

Greetings - Purodha.

Purodha Blissenbach21:17, 16 April 2011
  • zh-classical = lzh
  • fiu-vro = vro
  • en-gb is a variant
Siebrand22:48, 16 April 2011

Thank you for the update. Most of the items on the list have not had translations added in over a year. I am adding them more or less in a block together, with date of last activity by a registered translator noted in the edit summary.

Some of the items are languages no longer supported here, for example wym and num. I do not intend to add these to the page, unless told otherwise. Unsupported languages are: ady, chb, eur, num, wbl, wym, yux.

Lloffiwr10:27, 17 April 2011

Mh, I may have been adding wym and num too quickly, then. I might think about finding the last edit of a message of each language in the script, too, if there is a simple way to do so which I believe atm. Yet, that there was no edit is not necesasrily an indication the we have no translator, or cannot support a language - most notably for new projects. They may happen to attract and excite existing or new translators.

There is another issue - Extension Babel is able to support more languages than the ones, we usually translate to. It's only 6 or 12 messages for a full coverage, when the MediaWiki interface is not localized to that language. This poses yet another question of what "active" means.

Purodha Blissenbach22:00, 17 April 2011

Nothing is simple!

With regard to the last edit of a message, I ignored edits by fuzzy bot and by staff members.

There could be more supported languages where the translators haven't written their names at the bottom of the portal, or where the syntax is not the template needed by the software.

Lloffiwr22:07, 17 April 2011

Just read comment Thread:User talk:Jon Harald Søby/Updating the language by language family page/reply (5). That's a word. I am certain that also this comparison can be scripted. Will look into this next time, too.

Purodha Blissenbach22:05, 17 April 2011
Edited by another user.
Last edit: 20:55, 14 July 2012

Rerunning the (updated) script revealed:

Languages with translators subpages and zero translators[edit]

  1. en
  2. kls
  3. nv
  4. skr
  5. tokipona
  6. tw

Languages with translators subpage being a redirect[edit]

  1. bat-smg
  2. bh
  3. fiu-vro
  4. och
  5. zh-classical

Listed languages without translators subpages[edit]

  1. av

Listed languages with zero translators[edit]

  1. av - very occasionally is translated by users not showing Av on their Babel boxes.

Languages not listed despite translators[edit]

  1. bal - redirect
  2. chb - disabled
  3. dlc
  4. dum
  5. eur - disabled
  6. wbl - disabled
  7. yux - disabled

Languages listed but not supported[edit]

  1. ady - fixed in SupportedLanguages
  2. av
  3. num - removed from languages by language family list
  4. wym - removed from languages by language family list

Languages supported but not listed[edit]

  1. en

This looks like nearly nothing to do on it. Greetings.

Purodha Blissenbach07:39, 2 September 2011


Lloffiwr22:11, 18 September 2011

Purodha - Could you run the script again when you have a minute?

Lloffiwr (talk)20:57, 14 July 2012

Is the above update enough or do you need even newer one?

Nike (talk)07:56, 19 July 2012

Localisation of page

It is possible to make the names of the languages listed appear in the user interface language by replacing the English text in the language portal link with the wikitext {{#languagename:"enter language code"}}. The software will go to the database of language names taken from CLDR and produce the name of the localised language name. If CLDR does not have a localised name for the language the software will fall back, eventually to English. Occasionally the English name is missing from the language portal, which may indicate that it is missing from the CLDR database.

However, the language group names are written in English on the listing. If we were to replace the English text above with localised text, we would then end up with a mixture of English and localised text which might end up being very confusing.

Another possibility would be to add the localised name in brackets after the English name. The disadvantage of this perhaps is that the page wouldn't look as good as before, especially in English where you would just be adding the same name in brackets.

For now, I will not change the set-up of the page, but am posting this to allow discussion of the potential localisation of this page.

Lloffiwr13:19, 19 March 2011

Having the local name in brackets is the best we can do at the moment.

Speaking of the CLDR data... I wonder if we should change our trance and allow language name translation in twn (only once!) and try to push all we have into CLDR as one blob (someone would need to negotiate how to do that). Forcing everyone to go to CLDR directly seems to be too much for translators and puts some languages into different positions because those languages are not even available in CLDR yet

Nike13:26, 19 March 2011

I'll give you the current state of play for Welsh and Swahili, as working examples. For Welsh, somebody has entered quite a lot of proposed terms into the survey tool, and I have voted on that and added some further proposals. 8 votes are needed for a term to be published on CLDR. However, I have come to a temporary halt with it, whilst waiting for a response from the linguists at the Bedwyr Centre for Celtic languages on a number of issues; the use of diacritic marks, the use of letters not normally part of the Welsh alphabet, principles for converting language names for unfamiliar languages into Welsh, and the like. Going on previous experience, I am not expecting them to answer in a hurry, and so realistically, the number of language names in the Welsh database is not going to increase significantly for at least another 6 months. If we were to set up the localisation of language names here, then the issue of the diacritic marks would disappear, because I would decide to use them, ignoring potential problems for users with outdated browsers which cannot cope with the diacritic marks (CLDR advises that this should be considered when deciding whether to include diacritic marks). And I would probably choose to follow the principles of localisation in the Academy Welsh Language Dictionary (which emphasises phonetic pronunciation over similarity to accepted 'international' versions of a language name). I would still like to get the opinion of the linguists at the Bedwyr Centre, but if they couldn't deal with my queries quickly then I would just go ahead anyway, subject to contributions from other Welsh and Wikipedia users.

On Swahili, I have proposed a few mainly African language names on the survey tool after consulting dictionaries and native speakers. Some of the proposed terms already on CLDR are way off base - I know some are wrong, but am not in a position to come up with a correct term myself. However, I still haven't managed to set up any communications with professional linguists, because of various communication difficulties. The dictionary sources available to me contain only the names of very well-known languages. There are as yet no generally accepted written forms for less prominent languages, and I (and I venture my Tanzanian co-tranlator also) would not really like to venture to propose these terms on until we had managed to consult with a professional linguist, who could either do the work for us, or propose principles for us to work with.

These two languages have both been written languages for a long time. Some of the languages supported here have been written for a short time only, or they are non-state languages with little opportunity to develop academic or other specialist vocabulary. I don't know whether other translators have other factors to contribute from their own experience.

It would be very nice to be able to see the language name for Breton in Welsh (Llydaweg) and Asu in Swahili (Kipare), both of which are correct, are already proposed (by me) on CLDR, but are waiting for votes before being published. So I like your idea to create a database here, which CLDR might be persuaded to accept as a bulk set of proposals (or a vote where a term has already been proposed). But creating the database here would not be straightforward, as described above.

For the languages that are not yet available on CLDR, it would be really good to have a database here on

For all languages, it would be good to be able to create a database, if Mediawiki could use a localised CLDR term first, or where one didn't exist, choose the or Mediawiki database term instead. I don't know whether that is possible. If it was, we wouldn't have to depend on the speed of development of CLDR.

Lloffiwr15:11, 19 March 2011

It's imho pretty easy to populate a database of language names, since ISO 639 has names already. Depending on the substandard (currently 1, 2B, 2T, 3, 5 plus 6 in preparation), we have English, French, and an autonym or several (name of a language name in the language itself) They are all available to more or less automatic bulk download. Since I've done that already seveal times, for my own tools, I'd be available to make the same for twn as well. I know there are few special cases with dropped codes and altered meanings, but the bulk is fairly easy. Btw., the Babel extension is doing something very similar already.

Purodha Blissenbach14:35, 20 March 2011

Have you considered encouraging the Welsh linguists to work with the CLDR directly? Quite a number of such organizations contribute data directly to the CLDR. Please don't create yet another divergent process.

Srl29515:17, 28 March 2011

This is a sore point. As well as asking the Bedwyr Language Centre, who tell me that they are the 'official' contributors to CLDR, to comment on the principals of localising foreign proper nouns to Welsh for CLDR, I have also asked them to contribute terms and vote on those already contributed by others. I have deliberately held off from voting myself where the term to be adopted is not obvious, to allow them to take the lead in localising. I expect, however, to be waiting a long time, if past experience is anything to go by, before they can do anything with this, since their time and resources are heavily committed on all sorts of things. I intended to convey my cautious approach to the question of standardisation in my post above and am sorry that that was not clearly stated.

At the same time there is nothing controversial about the word 'Llydaweg', meaning 'Breton language', which has been around for hundreds of years, and no-one needs a language specialist to rubber stamp it. It would be nice to be able to have 'Llydaweg' in a database created here, for use here until it is superceded by the CLDR term, whenever that may become available. Whether that is practical is a matter for the developers here to address.

Lloffiwr22:40, 28 March 2011

As it stands 'Llydaweg' is the unopposed entry. It has the status of 'contributed', but it certainly doesn't need 8 votes to be 'in CLDR' as things stand. It will show up as "<language type="br" draft="contributed">Llydaweg</language>" and twn (and other CLDR consumers) can decide whether "contributed" is better than nothing.

You said that you held off on voting, did you at least enter the terms? Because, the time for submitting data has now passed in most cases. What you can (could) have done is to enter an option, and then change your vote back to n/o (no opinion)- that puts an entry in but doesn't yet vote for it.

Thanks for participating, and please watch for a mass e-mail soon about the vetting phase.

Srl29523:19, 28 March 2011

We should only do that if we also import what CLDR already has - and we should be able to maintain that proerly with a conversion/maintenance script -, and if we take both language names and country names, IMO. Possibly also currency names, currency signs, currency abbreviations, time zones. It should be a separate product/namespace.

Siebrand15:18, 19 March 2011

New CLDR data is published roughly twice a year. We need to go with CLDRs work cycle.

After the publication of new data and the moment, their survey tool is opened again for new submissions, we can simply rely on the published data.

When the survey tool is open, we could use it to poll new suggested data, but

  1. it does not fit our data structure, since they do not alter or add autoritative data, but rather collect sets of new/additional suggestions per item. Which one would we anticipate to become final?
  2. I cannot recommend polling because of performance considerations on either side, and we would at least have to ask for permission, because we could degrade their (sometimes flaky) server performance.

When vetting is open, the situation is basically very similar.

After the vettig phase, until the new data is published, I think, we cannot get the new data, but it may still be possible to use the survey tool read only, while data should remain unaltered.

Conclusion: Unless we find a special arrangement with CLDR, we likely can see their data as static and stable from publication until the survey tool is reopened, and maybe even until it is closed. If we are able to to find an arrangement with them that allows us to bulk submit our new data as suggestions towards the end of the survey phase, we can then start our new collection phase right after the (last) submission.

Using a bot to suppy data via the survey tool is likely possible. I cannot estimate the labour needed to make such a bot, but one should not be hard to find with a little reseach. Whether or not CLDR would accept that. is unclear. Usually, accounts are given to individuals allowing them access to two locales, that is und (undefined) for trials and tests, and the "real" one they work upon. We would need to have a more universal account anyways. It may be easier to supply our data in a common exchange format such as CSV, XML (LDML) e.g. via e-mail or upload. I suggest to find someone from their staff, and talk about this.

Purodha Blissenbach13:37, 20 March 2011

Nike's original proposal included us localising language names here first and then transferring the whole database to CLDR. I think it might be more realistic and effective if we were to tackle the transfer to CLDR for a few locales, or just one, at a time. That way, we can prioritise the languages which most need this leg up, and which also have enough translators to complete the localisation.

Lloffiwr23:02, 25 March 2011

So, any volunteers to pick up the communication?

Nike16:19, 26 March 2011

Review of supported languages

The total of supported languages is now 306. Of these, 81 languages have had no contributions by a human translator (excluding bots and staff members) in over a year.

Lloffiwr13:33, 15 May 2011

Thanks for the research. Is there something that can/should be done about these?

Nike10:43, 16 May 2011

I guess we should check who did contribute in the past, and send them personal e-mails to try and get them to contribute again. Thanks for the hell of a job, Lloffiwr. This is something we should have a script for to determine, I guess...

Siebrand22:07, 16 May 2011

Yes, a personal e-mail could help. In some cases the only registered translator for a language made no contributions at all - perhaps he/she couldn't understand the system, perhaps personal circumstances changed. Might it help to invite requests for advice to be posted to support or to somebody's talk page? I think I am willing to volunteer to be asked questions by the recipients of the proposed e-mail.

Perhaps a message on the wiki or incubator wiki if it has one could also help to recruit replacement translators.

I will post a list of the 81 languages here soon. Having a script to identify inactive languages and contributors would be great, if it doesn't drive someone crazy trying to write it!

Lloffiwr22:51, 16 May 2011

We should design a template for an e-mail to send them. It should have a clear message (contribute to translations for MediaWiki), and allow them to get going without too much trouble. Any proposals to start off with? I could probably also send a mail to them in bulk if that is preffered. Would still need a list of users for that, though.

Siebrand23:02, 16 May 2011
Edited by author.
Last edit: 13:43, 26 June 2011

List of languages:

Ab Ak Akz Arn Avk Bfq Bi Bqi Cbk-zam Ch Chr Cps Dv Dz Ext Ff Fy Gn Gom Guc Gur Ha Ilo Jut Kab Kea Kgp Kg Kk Kri Krj Lfn Lij Lmo Lo Loz Lus Lzh Lzz Mwl Mwv Nan Nap New Niu Njo Nov Pam Pdt Prg Rap Rmy Rtm Sdc Sei Sg Sgs Sli Sma Srn Swb Sxu Tcy Tg Ti To Ts Tsd Ttt Uz Vmf Vot Yrl Za

Lloffiwr16:28, 23 May 2011

Proposal to show total number of supported languages on the supported language special page

I don't know how much work it would be to calculate and show the total number of languages supported in the introduction to the SupportedLanguages special page? I would find this useful in tracking changes to the list of supported languages. But also, I think this would be a useful addition to the page and a useful statistic to know.

Lloffiwr13:20, 3 June 2011

42 of course. Should be easy change.

Nike15:01, 3 June 2011

Updating the language by language family page

Edited by 3 users.
Last edit: 12:34, 20 March 2011

I am currently updating the page Languages by language family. I am using Ethnologue as my main source of information on the language tree. Occasionally I am finding differences between the family lineage on Ethnologue, Wikipedia (en) and this page, eg ilo (Ilokano). The information on Ilokano agrees with the language list information, which is also listed as a source at the top of the page. Is there any reason for choosing linguist list over Ethnologue as a source for the lineage? Will avoid the Austronesian languages for now, until this has been discussed.

Lloffiwr12:34, 19 March 2011

I think I only used Linguist List as a source for dead languages (that aren't in Ethnologue); remember that there has been a new version of Ethnologue published since this list was made, so I think Ethnologue has changed while LL has stayed the same.

Jon Harald Søby13:10, 19 March 2011
Edited by another user.
Last edit: 12:33, 20 March 2011

OK. Do you recommend that we use the latest version of Ethnologue as our primary source? If so, I will amend the Philippines languages to comply with the latest Ethnologue.

Lloffiwr13:22, 19 March 2011

Not certain, but as far as I know, the ISO 639-6 (draft?) categorises things again, possibly differently. user:GerardM probably knows more about it.

Siebrand15:21, 19 March 2011

Hoi,the information at Ethnologue is consistent with the information we use at The iso-639-6 is expected to bring all the information from language families down to dialects together in one big thing. As a project this deserves to be called ambitious. I do not know when the status will change and its data become a standard. Thanks,

GerardM18:20, 19 March 2011

Page updated using Ethnologue as first reference. This can be reviewed when iso 639-6 is published.

The languages listed on languages by language family should now be identical to those on Special:SupportedLanguages. Total languages listed is 305.

Lloffiwr21:37, 17 April 2011

Who wants to use this page?

This page was started in 2008 and was updated once in 2009. What was the original intention for the use of the page? Who would be interested in using it now, and for what purpose? I can think of some potential uses, such as:

  • An illustration of the range of language families covered, mainly for visitors to the site.
  • A tool for publicity and volunteer recruitment. For volunteer recruitment however, it would really need a companion page of supported languages which don't have translators, and information on which languages are inactive.
  • providing an easy way for translators to find languages related to their own which also have translators.

These are all things which could be better presented with the language map than by the list of supported projects (listed in alphabetical order of the language code).

Any comments?

Lloffiwr11:32, 26 March 2011

About the last point: I've been thinking of making this page sortable by several criteria. If we were to use the usual CSS/JS based mechanism, that would mean to convert is to another kind of HTML representation. Imho not too much labour but maintainance was slightly lesss straightforward, then,

Purodha Blissenbach12:52, 26 March 2011

I have added a link to this page from the Translating:Statistics page.

Lloffiwr21:41, 17 April 2011

Names in brackets

Some language names are in brackets - we should probably explain that in the into above the list.

Purodha Blissenbach15:59, 24 March 2011

I'm afraid you're going to have to explain the significance of brackets if non-specialist linguists like myself are to understand this thread.

Lloffiwr22:39, 25 March 2011

Well, the point is, I don't know. Most languages are listed in boldface, but some are listed in normal typeface and in brackets. I did not do that, and I do not know who did it why. My guess is, that brackets are ued to denote a specific variant under a macrolanguage, or a dialect (according to ethnologue) of a language which is also a dialect group. But I am not sure, and for the ones I entered, I did not follow this trait because I was not sure about it.

Purodha Blissenbach23:10, 25 March 2011

OK, now I get the point of the question. Having looked at the three entries in brackets, it appears they were put in by Jon Harald Soby, and indicate dialects/languages having ISO 639-3 codes but no ISO 639-1 codes. I agree with you that if the page uses special markings then we need a key to these in the introduction. Exactly how much information this page should be carrying is another question, related to the question of whose benefit the page is designed for, and it seems to me that these will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. So I'll start yet another thread on that.

Lloffiwr10:59, 26 March 2011

Different formatting for dialects removed for now to make the maintenance of the page as simple as possible.

Lloffiwr21:17, 17 April 2011

Supported languages with no translators

The Special:SupportedLanguages page does not explain that supported languages only appear on the list if they have registered translators. Can we either:

  • Reword the introduction to explain this. In this case, can we maintain a list of supported projects which haven't yet got translators? How many languages don't have translators yet?
  • Change the list so it shows all supported languages, whether they have translators or not.
Lloffiwr15:47, 17 April 2011

No, and no. Explaining every piece of logic does not necessarily make something easier to use or understand.

Siebrand16:22, 17 April 2011

Guc - Wayuu

Language Wayuu is not listed on supported languages. But we can still access the translation tool for this language, although it shows nil translations completed. What is the position for this language?

Lloffiwr14:26, 17 April 2011

It's not in Special:SupportedLanguages because the one translator registered does not use the correct format ({{User}}). Support was added 2009-12-12 and is still active.

Siebrand14:41, 17 April 2011

Done Done Thank you - format of user changed.

Lloffiwr15:10, 17 April 2011

Ethnologue errs with West Germanic languages.

Edited by author.
Last edit: 23:23, 17 April 2011

Despite the data listed in Ethnologue, which has several errors in its West Germanic data, we should replacve this:

  • Low Saxon-Low Franconian
    • Low Franconian
      • ...
    • Low Saxon
      • Low Saxon
  • High German
    • German
      • Middle German
        • ...
      • Upper German
        • ...
    • Yiddish

with that:

  • German
    • Low Saxon-Low Franconian
      • Low Franconian
        • ...
      • Low Saxon
        • Low Saxon
    • High German
      • Middle German
        • ...
      • Upper German
        • ...
      • Yiddish

The latter is more like linguists (and Wikipedias) see it. Noone but Ethnologue has another "German" group as a subgroup of "High German". Note also that both the group "Low Saxon-Low Franconian" and its subgroup "Low Saxon" are commonly referred to as "Low German" in German literature. I do not want to recommend that here but mention it so as to make the structure clearer. Having a "Low German" group outside a "German" group would have an odd boding with itself, would it not?

Purodha Blissenbach18:49, 25 March 2011

You are right, having 'German' as a sub-group of 'High German' looks very strange. Please go ahead and amend the grouping - do you have a source that you can cite for this?

Lloffiwr22:36, 25 March 2011

Ehr. Let's stick with the standards body. If the standard is incorrect, please appeal it using the appropriate procedures. Thanks.

Siebrand00:01, 26 March 2011

Sourcesa are diverging. Many do not mention the "German" group of the 2nd list, some more modern ones call it "Dutch-German", older ones call it "German" or very similar. Nothing I know of is backing SIL/Ethnologue.

ISO 629-3 is the standard, and of course does not say anything about language families. Ethnologue is not a standard, makes obviously wrong claims here and there, but is published by the same organisation (SIL) as ISO 639-3 is. I do send them e-mail about their errors and omissions, and they corrected some things already, but that took long time.

Since Ethnologue is not a standard, I would not give much about not following it, if there are good sources showing that they err.

We do not follow it, e.g. by correctly putting Limbourgish (of the Dutch and Belgish provinces Limbourg) to its Low Franconian relatives, and not - like Ethnologue does - into Rhine-Franconian, despite the fact that there is a city and bishopric called "Limburg" near Frankfurt in Rhine-Hesse, too, where a Rhine-Franconian Variety is spoken.

Purodha Blissenbach09:06, 26 March 2011

OK, let me phrase it differently: I want data about languages or their relation to adhere to that published by standard bodies.

Siebrand11:28, 26 March 2011

I've written another lengthy e-mail to SIL telling them of about a dozen or so points where they deviate from published academic opinions in the West Germanic tree. Some are apparent and obvious errors which they certainly will correct in the next edition. Two deviations are worth to mention here. One cannot be called an error, imho:

  1. Ethnologue has 4 language groups of West Germanic. Standard publications of the Dutch-German linguist community have one level of grouping in between, Anglo-Frisian, and Dutch-German (the latter often only called German) which Ethnologue skips. Imho you can make that, it's only unusual.
  2. In the High German group, you have the big subgroups Middle German (aka Central German) and Upper German, plus few languages/groups that cannot be clearly assigned to either subgroup. One of the latter, and the only one Ethnologue lists, is Yiddish, and its varieties. There is no need to create a "German" subgroup of High German so as to separate "Yiddish" from "German", which Ethnologue unnecessarily did. Despite being written in the Hebrew script, Yiddish is High German, and exhibits a mix of Middle and Upper German influences. There is no point to separate the other language groups of High German from it. A "High German, German" subgroup is just silly. Or else, if you had it, Yiddish was part of it, making it superfluous again. I hope, they straighten that with their next release.
Purodha Blissenbach13:19, 26 March 2011

Inactive languages

Whilst updating this page I have come across a few languages which have had any activity by a human translator on them for a long while; for example Ingush (last activity 2007). Usually, these languages have got a very small percentage of translated messages. Do we want to add any information concerning the last date of human translation into a language, either to this page, or to the Special:SupportedLanguages. How easy would that be to do?

Lloffiwr15:51, 19 March 2011

Note on English name for languages

The English names for languages used on this page are as shown on the language portals. These English names come from the CLDR database, which uses the most widely-used name for a language. The names will sometimes differ from those used at Ethnologue and Language List, which use the language names commonly used by linguists.

Lloffiwr15:21, 19 March 2011