Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

2018-02-27 18:04 GMT+02:00 Tim Landscheidt <t...@tim-landscheidt.de>:

> "Amir E. Aharoni" <amir.ahar...@mail.huji.ac.il> wrote:
> > […]
> > Sometimes it is, but there is something much bigger: There are many
> > languages that
> > 1. are alive in speech (and possibly in writing)
> > 2. are not in danger of extinction
> > 3. have a large number of monolingual speakers (let's say 100,000+)
> > If there is no substantial Wikipedia in such a language, these people
> can't
> > read Wikipedia in *any language* because they are monolingual. Most
> likely
> > they cannot read any any encyclopedia in any language. They need a
> > Wikipedia not in order to preserve the language, but to have access to
> > *any* encyclopedic knowledge.
> > I speak a revitalized language, and I'm very well aware of its history.
> > Language preservation and revitalization are lovely things. But it's not
> > the main point of what Wikimedia does.
> "Need a Wikipedia" sounds like a great idea when you are
> selling Wikipedias, but for progress, betterment of humani-
> ty, sustainable development, etc. I think teaching those
> monolingual speakers a second language (for example English)
> is far preferable as it not only enables them to access to a
> few hundred or thousand articles someone paid to have trans-
> lated, but all articles of the English Wikipedia, plus every
> English article, every English book, every English blog, ev-
> ery English video on the InterNet.
> It also grows them not only intellectually, but also removes
> economical barriers for trading with other groups.
> Tim
> ... Yeah, it's a tempting thought. Without English we wouldn't be able to
have this conversation, and do thousands of other things.

And yet, that's exactly what we as Wikimedia are not supposed to do, for
reasons that mathieu stumpf guntz suggests: not only what is written in a
language is knowledge; language itself is also knowledge.

On a more practical and less ideological note, I should note that even
though I didn't run the numbers, I strongly suspect that translating 10,000
articles to 100 languages is considerably cheaper than teaching 7 billion
people English.
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