Tuesday, February 05, 2008

When a language is no longer that language

Gothic is a truly ancient language. It is dead, it has not been used in earnest anymore for a long time. The Wikipedia article is quite clear about this; "There are only a few surviving documents in Gothic, not enough to completely reconstruct the language".

There is a Gothic Wikipedia. I cannot read it, I do not have the necessary fonts and that is not a problem. What I do find problematic is what I learned about the localisation effort on Betawiki. Siebrand asked about the change in the font used because prior to the new work, the localisation was in Gothic. The answer is that the messages are now transliterated into the Latin script. One of the arguments used is that "the original fonts are more difficult".

I have a problem with reconstructed languages. They are no longer the language itself and they should not be tagged as such. By moving to another script, this project has moved even further from what I think is acceptable. This move from the Gothic script to the Latin script is not acceptable to me. When the problem is with finding a proper font, this has to be tacked.

I do urge the people interested in the Gothic to be truthful to that language. This is in my opinion already quite impossible but as they stop being truthful to the language by ditching the script, I am of the opinion that they lost the license to call it a Gothic Wikipedia.

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