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Submissions/Minority Languages and Wikipedia

From Wikimania 2010 • Gdańsk, Poland • July 9-11, 2010

This is an open submission for Wikimania 2010.

Title of the submission

Minority Languages and Wikipedia

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Arto Lanamäki

E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)


Country of origin

Norway & Finland

Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

University of Agder, Norway

Personal homepage or blog

My Academia.edu page: http://agder.academia.edu/ArtoLanamäki


There are currently hundreds of different Wikipedia language versions. This shows not only that the Wikipedia concept is scalable to many different languages, but that it is scalable to many different types of cultures, typographies, communities and personalities.

While the rich variety of different languages of Wikipedia is a thing to be celebrated, there is certainly room for improvement. Most research and development has so far focused purely on the English language version, and some other major languages.

Currently, many languages are very poorly represented in Wikipedia. Most Wikipedia languages do not enjoy any support from research institutions or technical developers. It almost seems as a form or language imperialism: the bigger Wikipedias leave smaller ones into their shadow.

One challenge is also that many languages still do not have their own Wikipedia. For example Garifuna, a minority language spoken by the Caribbean coast in central America, does not have its Wikipedia yet. But there is a great need to gather this language's and Garifuna people's contents to an online encyclopedia.

Consider Magar language, which is spoken on mountain regions of Nepal. The language does not even have a written version, it is so far only spoken. But I am sure that Wikipedia could be of great help in developing the written language. Those people need local contents what that they can read in their own language!

These smaller language Wikipedias cannot be developed using exactly the same principles as the English Wikipedia. There are many differences - dynamics and size of the user community, cultural aspects, lack of resources and expertise, technical aspects, etc.

This is a call to develop smaller size Wikipedias. We must join our forces! Wikipedia can be an emancipatory and empowering tool for minority languages. Come join the panel to discuss how currently underdeveloped Wikipedias could get the growth boost they need.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

Knowledge and Collaboration

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  1. Shijualex 11:12, 19 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Sky Harbor 12:49, 19 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Aphaia 18:49, 19 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  4. --Ravidreams 07:09, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Incnis Mrsi (probably, not certainly) 20:57, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Mayooranathan 21:45, 21 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  7. --WikedKentaur 19:12, 23 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  8. --Gomà 11:22, 25 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Ijon 11:31, 25 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Kocio 12:02, 2 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Amir E. Aharoni 06:39, 22 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  12. Yupik 17:40, 26 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Jon Harald Søby 18:25, 26 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Capsot 12:04, 29 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Natbrown 13:03, 29 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]