The Web of Language

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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news

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  • Wikipedia: write first, ask questions later

    The day I took this screenshot there were more than 9.4 million entries in Wikipedia's multilingual database. In addition to more than 3.2 million articles in English and close to a million in French, there were over 1,000 articles in Nahuatl, a language with 1.3 million speakers, and 100 or more articles in languages like Tok Pisin (4 million speakers) and Aymara (2.4 million speakers).

Comments

medievalist@w-sts.com Mar 23, 2010 7:58 am

I am a heretic: I tell my students (all freshmen) that Wikipedia, like other encyclopedias, is an OK *starting point.* It is *not* an end point. I just had my students write proposals for a research paper and I told them that this was going to be the one instance where they would get to cite an encyclopedia as it's a good source for background information. I tell my students that the weakness of Wkipedia is the ability for anyone to edit it, but its strengths are the external links and the discussion tab. With Wikipedia you get consensus, but you can see what people have been debating on the discussion tab.

Reply to medievalist@w-sts.com at 7:58 am
chobbs@ou.edu Mar 24, 2010 10:55 am

I find that much of the information on Wikipedia reflects the interests of the vanguard, and as you might expect, women and others are often underrepresented. So I try to at least edit to list women I know about who have contributed to an area, even if I don't have time to flesh out the text right then. For example, nature and environment writers listed were at one time almost all men.

Reply to chobbs@ou.edu at 10:55 am