Disputatio:Lingua Slovio

Latest comment: abhinc 13 annos by Ioscius in topic 400 000 000?

deletion at en


Anybody have an opinion about the notability of this language? --Ioscius 13:42, 29 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply

The assertion that Slovio has a community of users -- in the deletion debate you cite -- is made by IJzeren Jan, the creator of another artificial language (Lingua Venedica; see also Disputatio:Ill Bethisad). Not quite neutral, perhaps. I don't think he backed it up with a citation. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:54, 29 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
In my opinion, a project with an active forum and 88 000 Google hits is notable per se, even if all of this were nothing but a result of a one-man-selfpromotion. Slovianski, a much less notable conlang, does have its article on enwiki. Also, the interwiki links show that here it is the English Wikipedia who is the odd man out, and we are no way obliged to follow the enwiki decision. Nevertheless, I am in a position similar to that of IJzeren Jan, therefore my opinion easily can qualify as biased. --Gabriel Svoboda 16:10, 29 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
What, really? You're the creator of an artificial language? (We did decide to retain the material on IJzeren Jan's work, incidentally -- but as a result of that earlier discussion I was interested to notice the same name recurring.) Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 17:02, 29 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
Gabriel's views are always welcome on my screen! and not just because I agree with them! IacobusAmor 18:10, 29 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
Thanks! ;-) --Gabriel Svoboda 18:20, 29 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
Yes, I happen to have cooperated with IJzeren Jan on the Slovianski project. Slovio in theory is its competitor whose authors consider both of us personae non gratae, yet I think the language has got some merits. It is, however, not easy to find sources that could prove its notability without looking self-promotional - the closest to it might be [1] or [2]. --Gabriel Svoboda 18:20, 29 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
Hah, I invent languages too (this should be obvious, given how hard I push you all to make up Latin words).  ;) Mind you, I find it very strange that in this case one's being experienced in a field is being used to imply disparagement of one's knowledge of that field! Usually one sees the opposite. Still, having a citation would be preferable; offhand, I see the language is mentioned a couple of times in Google books [3], [4] ... The document in the latter link actually is available by pdf and was one of the documents referenced in the English AfD discussion.... and is the same document as in Gabriel's second link, I see.Mucius Tever 02:51, 30 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
It certainly seems that by our standards, this is OK. It's further notable for being the first Slavic interlingua and therefore inspiring others like Slovianski. Surely it's more worthy that a private fictional project like Lingua Venedica!
As you can see, English Wikipedia's 'standards' are totally irrational and we should not feel bound to follow them. Pantocrator 03:19, 30 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
Easy PC, it was just a question (that you'll notice I asked after I cleaned up this page). We have often deleted a page not because en: did, but because we didn't like self promotion. I don't care one way or another about Slovio, but I figured someone else might. --Ioscius 06:00, 30 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply
"English Wikipedia's 'standards' are totally irrational and we should not feel bound to follow them." Yes, yes! I'm for retaining this article on the basis of Gabriel's and Mucius's citations. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 08:50, 30 Martii 2010 (UTC)Reply

I'd like to address this issue with a few remarks. When it comes to the deletion debate at wp.en, I have to admit that I was wrong and that Amir was right. In his nomination, Amir made a few interesting observations: in spite of the huge number of Google hits, except for numerous references on blogs and in fora, virtually all references to the perceived notability of Slovio could be traced back to Mark Hučko himself. He was right about that. All I can say now is that Mark Hučko has successfully managed to make many people (including myself) believe that his project is notable. Now I know that most of what is written on the Slovio main page should be taken with a huge grain of salt: all these so-called "Slovio-klubis" all around the world, the fan mail (most of it quite obviously written by the same person), the false suggestion that numerous companies are using Slovio, the "World Slavic Congress" that has proclaimed Slovio the one and only language for inter-Slavic communication, etc. That goes also for the assumption that Slovio would have a huge community of speakers. If you look at the Slovio forum and the Slovio mailing list, you will quickly find out that Slovio's "community of speakers" is in fact very tiny: three, four, possibly five people, plus a few interested bystanders. In the years 2002-2005 there may have been a few more, but nothing even remotely close to the hundred or more claimed by Hučko c.s.
Secondly, the number of Google hits in itself is not a criterium for notability. Especially in this case: Slovio has articles in many wikipedia editions and these have a way of multiplying themselves. Besides, "slovio" is also a word in Serbian/Croatian, which makes the result even less reliable. As for the "active forum": well, Gabriel, I have to disagree with you here. About 75% of all threads on this forum are about you, me and/or Slovianski; Slovio is rarely used (except by one person) and rarely discussed. If this forum can be the measure of anybody's notability at all, then it's certainly not Slovio's.
In terms of Wikipedia criteria, notability is defined by reliable, independent, third-party sources. From that point of view you can't say that Slovianski is a much less notable conlang than Slovio. It used to be, obviously, but things have changed in the meantime. Just look at this for a list of Slovianski references. Slovio has a few references as well, of course, but to a much smaller degree. Now, I have always argued that you can't expect a constructed language to get the same kind of media attention as, say, a pop group, and therefore I still believe Slovio would meet the inclusion criteria. Muke's first link to a book found on Google books doesn't really count, IMO, because it really only mentions Slovio as the name of a website where Jan Herkel' is mentioned. But Tilman Berger's Vom Erfinden Slavischer Sprachen certainly does. Besides, worth mentioning are the following two links:

A few things, however, need to be rectified:

  • It's further notable for being the first Slavic interlingua and therefore inspiring others like Slovianski.
    It is not true that Slovio is the first Slavic-based auxlang. See this list. Also, I can assure you that Slovio was no inspiration for Slovianski at all. Just try to find a single reference that proves contrary - you'll find that nobody but Hucko c.s. has ever said that.
  • Surely it's more worthy that a private fictional project like Lingua Venedica
    Depends how you define "worthy". Slovio is a private one-man auxlang project, Wenedyk is a private one-man artlang project. Both have inspired other languages, both have generated some media attention. If you mean "worthy for inclusion in Wikipedia", then it's obvious that objective, reliable, third-party sources are the thing that matter here. And like I said, I believe Slovio has enough of these to warrant inclusion. But I also believe we need to be careful about the content, because several of the other Slovio articles in wikipedia are too much based on Slovio propaganda and contain wrong information.
  • Also, the comparison between Slovio and Interlingua isn't a fortunate one. Slovio uses Slavic words, but its grammar is completely synthetic, and has more in common with Esperanto than with Interlingua.
  • "[...] quae a glottologo Marco Hucka anno 1999 proposita est"
    Mark Hucko is nót a linguist. That fact is even referenced to in "Potemkin im Netz", as well as in an article in the Slovak magazine "Život" (from 2005, IIRC).
The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary's prime definition of linguist: "a person accomplished in languages; esp : one who speaks several languages." If he speaks several languages well, he's a linguist. IacobusAmor 08:05, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply

Regards, IJzeren Jan 20:41, 6 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for all your information. (However, your link doesn't work.)
I agree that it does merit a Wikipedia page, if only just. The character of Mark Hucko should be irrelevant (Gothic Chess has an article, even though Ed Trice is at least as bad as you say Hucko is). Hopefully we don't make such a big deal of 'reliable sources' as English does, though.
I don't believe I've included anything here that could be thought of as propaganda, and surely here it will stay neutral. I suppose Slovianski can also have an article, if anyone cares to write it. Pantocrator 04:28, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
The link should work now; I made a typo in the url.
As for reliable sources, I'm not entirely in agreement with myself. I think the criteria used at wp.en are basically okay, but the bad thing is that in problematic cases an article should be given the benefit of the doubt, while in reality it's mostly up to the closing moderator. Wikipedia is an international project, so if a subject is notable in f.ex. Poland, that means it's notable in other editions by definition, too, but what makes things harder is that the Polish edition can use different criteria or have diferent ways of applying the same criteria. Sometimes I get the impression that wp.en is so choked with articles already, that lots of people can't think of anything better to do than sticking tags on existing articles, submitting them for deletion etc.
As for the definition of a linguist... Well, I'm surprised by the MWCD definition, because it would mean that about 80% of the entire population of the Netherlands would be linguists! In that case I'd like to know the definition of a psychologist: a person who has a certain understanding of the human mind? Whatever be the case, if you write in an article that somebody is a linguist, this will make it appear that the person in question either has a degree in linguistics, or works as a linguist professionally. Nobody really knows what kind of job it is Hučko's doing, but whatever his education is, it's certainly not linguistics. IJzeren Jan 10:26, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
The MWCD is correctly describing usage here: linguist is indeed normally used, in the English I hear every day, with the meaning "someone who speaks several languages, someone accomplished in languages". Hence at a college I recently worked at, I told the dean (who was an accomplished Italian literature specialist) that the best linguist on the staff was a woman at the canteen checkout; my reason was that I had heard her conversing fluently in languages from three different linguistic families and was able to gather that she must speak a fourth very different language equally well. (The three were Yoruba, Arabic and English; the fourth was Hausa.) And the dean didn't tell me I was using the term wrongly.
I'm an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Now, although many of its members work as linguists professionally, that's not the qualification for membership. To be a member, you have to pass examinations that prove you to be skilled at understanding and translating languages. So its members can be assumed to be linguists in the usual sense (and to have passed a proficiency examination, unless, like me, they were invited to join), but not in any professional sense.
I agree, therefore, that in usual English usage "about 80% of the entire population of the Netherlands [are] linguists". If only that were true of another country that lies a little way to the west of the Netherlands! Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 11:41, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
Hahaha, thank you Andrew, I stand corrected! This reminds me of a certain James Bond sequence, in which Mrs. Moneypenny called him "a cunning linguist". :) This proves that English usage is different from what I thought. However, it also raises the question whether it makes sense at all to call anybody a "linguist" in a wikipedia article. You'll agree that it would be weird to call Famke Janssen "a Dutch actress and linguist", or Jan Peter Balkenende "a Dutch politician and linguist", now wouldn't you? IJzeren Jan 12:00, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
I'm a bit surprised by that, Andrew. Maybe it's a British/American thing? I have the sense (maybe vainglorious one ;]) that linguist in American English is reserved for those who either are by profession or by hobby actively engaged in linguistic study. If you can't diagram a sentence - the majority of people can't - in either of the 2+ languages you speak, I'm not sure what claim (in American English) you have to being a linguist.
Of course there is the question of the Latin word, too: glottologus. This seems to support my perceived American usage. Certainly not everyone who has thoughts is a psychologus, no more than are scientists scientologists (ok I'm joking here).
IJzeren, this is one of my favorite hip hop groups: en:CunninLynguists
--Ioscius 12:06, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
I'd forgotten the James Bond conversation!
In answer to IJ's point about descriptions in Wikipedia articles; I'd say the reason is not the variant meanings of "linguist" but the fact that Wikipedia focuses on notability. So (not knowing those people) I'd say that they certainly have other accomplishments too; both may be known to their neighbours as excellent gardeners, one may be an amateur astronomer, one may be a good after-dinner speaker. These facts, too, probably won't get in the first sentence of the biography. The fact that they are linguists will only get in if their linguistic knowledge is for some reason notable as a theme in their biographies.
In answer to Ioscius: well, we knew, didn't we, that we were speaking different languages all along! But it's odd that the MWCD and I agree, because the MWCD is an American dictionary. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:23, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
I believe Peter T. Daniels once pointed out the prime (universal, not just British) sense of linguist in the Usenet linguistics newsgroup. IacobusAmor 12:52, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
If I ever heard 'linguist' used in that sense, I'd consider it an error. Pantocrator 12:55, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
OK. Still, I don't know if any of those earlier efforts were notable at the time Slovio was made. As for English Wikipedia, it's just that they've been completely taken over by the bureaucratic asshole mentality. Pantocrator 12:55, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply

Looking around a bit further, I'm not a bit surprised to find that the OED and I agree :) but let me add that the OED traces the "professional" sense of linguist to 1641, i.e. only 50 years after the first noted example of the "ability" sense. Here goes with a quote:

linguist ... 1. a. One who is skilled in the use of languages; one who is master of other tongues besides his own. (Often with adj. indicating the degree or extent of the person’s skill.)

  • 1591 Shakespeare. Two Gent. iv. i. 57 Seeing you are beautifide With goodly shape; and by your owne report A Linguist.
  • 1593 G. Harvey Pierce’s Super. Answ. Lett. **3 b, Be thou Iohn, the many-tongued Linguist, like Andrewes, or the curious Intelligencer, like Bodley.
  • 1599 Thynne Animadv. 31 Vnleste a manne be a good saxoniste, frenche, and Italyane linguiste.
  • 1602 Boyle in Lismore Papers Ser. ii. (1887) I. 39 A generall Linguist and partycular so in insight in the Ierish tungue.
  • 1604 Marston Malcontent i. i, I study languages. Who doost thinke to be the best linguist of our age? [Etc. ...]

2. A student of language; a philologist.

  • 1641 Wilkins Mercury iii. (1707) 12 Many of the other [words]..are of such secret Sense, as I think no Linguist can discover.
  • 1695 J. Edwards Perfect. Script. 3 Here linguists and philologists may find that which is to be found no where else.
  • 1748 Hartley Observ. Man i. iii. §1. 320 A Light in which Grammarians and Linguists alone consider Words.
  • 1817 J. Evans Excurs. Windsor, etc. 171 And what will be curious to the linguist, here are the Iliad and Odyssey, the very books from which Pope made his translation.
  • 1922 O. Jespersen Lang. 64, I think I am in accordance with a growing number of scholars in England and America if I..apply the word ‘linguist’ by itself to the scientific student of language (or of languages). [Etc. ...]

I quote this really just for interest. The OED arranges senses strictly historically, so one can't deduce from it that sense 1a is the normal one today. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:59, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply

OK. Still, I don't know if any of those earlier efforts were notable at the time Slovio was made. [...] Pantocrator 12:55, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply

Some of them were, others weren't. But then, it depends what kind of standards you use for "notable". I think it's safe to say that most of the older projects are of historical importance only. In general, it should be said that most of the projects I listed are small one-man projects, too incomplete to be usable at all. I'm not too severe when it comes to notability requirements, but you'll agree that the line must be drawn somewhere, and that most of the projects listed wouldn't meet any of the requirements. In the case of Slovio, I think you can say that: a) it was probably the first Slavic auxlang published on the Internet; b) it is one of the bigger (= most complete) languages, perhaps even the biggest in terms of vocabulary; c) it is one of the very few projects of this type that has ever been used by more than one person; d) it has generated some media attention - not much, but enough to warrant inclusion; e) it is a well-known phenomenon among conlang enthousiasts and apparently quite a lot of people outside their realm have heard of it as well; f) it has indeed been the inspiration for a few similar projects (Slovianski is a bad example, but there are a few others, like Ruslavsk and Slovioski); g) there has been quite a lot of controversy about Slovio.
BTW, it is true that Hučko claims that 400 mln. people can understand Slovio, but it is fairly obvious that this claim is false. In order to really understand Slovio, one needs to know Russian, because that's where the vast majority of the words are taken from. There's another page, also created by Hučko, where Slovio is in fact called "simplified Russian". IJzeren Jan 13:54, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply
Sources for things like that would be cool, so we could put them in the article. We've I think fairly established that there will be an article, now we've got to make it fair, balanced, and accurate. Any outside sources you have about Slovio would be great to have.
Btw, as a speaker of Slovene and Russian, I understand Slovio just fine, but reading it it's not immediately apparent to me which language is facilitating my understanding.
--Ioscius 17:19, 7 Aprilis 2010 (UTC)Reply

400 000 000?


"[creator] believes up to 400 million people worldwide could understand it without having to learn it first" It is very unreliable source. I suggest to find better estimate and delete this marketing. (I am unable to edit this, as I know nothing about this language - and I am posting it here as it is likely to be translation from de/en wiki or source of de/en article). -- Bulwersator 06:49, 15 Aprilis 2011 (UTC)Reply

Good point. The real problem is not reliability (he is a reliable source for his beliefs) but notability: is such an opinion, not backed up by any cited research, worth anyone else's time? I'll ask Ioscius to comment: I think he inserted the sentence. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 08:34, 15 Aprilis 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hmmm. Well it's not a great article, I'll concede that. Maybe I can just add a clarifier like "a claim which has not been substantiated by the scientific community"? Would that solve the problem? -- Ioscius 21:33, 17 Aprilis 2011 (UTC)Reply
Revertere ad "Lingua Slovio".