Monday, January 30, 2012

#Wikimedia celebrating Februari 21

Every year the UN celebrates International Mother Language day. It is a moment to reflect on the many languages spoken and what we can do for their future in our society.

Some say that having a Wikipedia is one of the best ways of demonstrating the vitality of a language.  In a way it is. It is a place where a language is used to articulate all the knowledge in that language. When a subject is explained that is rather foreign to that language it is a challenge to cope. People manage by inventing new words or by borrowing from other languages.

Technically, we do need to know details about the grammar of the language, we need to know what script is used. These details are the same details that enable software developers to support a language in their application. This includes word processors, browsers. Everything you need to be active in this modern and increasingly digital world.

The Wikimedia Localisation team will host another "Office hours" on Freenode on February 21 2012 at 18.00 UTC. It will be a perfect time to discuss everything we do to support languages including web fonts, input methods, localisation. It will also be a perfect time to ask what you can do to support your language.

We want knowledgeable people to support us by being active in their "language support teams". We want them to verify what we do in MediaWiki and we want people to verify, append and amend what is known about a language in the standards like the CLDR.

Doing this for your language is what allows easy and obvious use of a language. It allows for information that is recognisable as being in your language. Helping you help your language is what we do. Helping you use your language is what we develop in MediaWiki.
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