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Languages 'supersite'

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Update: launched


A Q&A for all languages, both natural languages and constructed languages (not programming languages though). Because of the potential overlap with linguistics, linguistics can be included in the scope of the site.

The idea for this is inspired by the Languages.SE proposal on SE's Area51. The intent to have this 'supersite' is to have a place for less popular languages.

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General comments (14 comments)

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Are questions only allowed in English?

At the Area51 proposal, I tried to imagine how such a site could be moderated. And the only reasonable way I could think of doing this was making a hard rule that questions are written in English. (I'm imagining snippets in other languages.)

It might also be worth considering the same thing for answers and comments.

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General comments (3 comments)
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URL suggestion: languages.codidact.com

Adding "linguistics" will make it too long.

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General comments (2 comments)
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I think such a site can be viable, can include with its scope all sorts of questions about specific languages or about linguistics (with specific details about scope TBD). I think all the Q&A can be in one category, with tags for specific languages, for language families, for subfamilies, and for areas of study within linguistics. It can include questions of the sort found on the linguistics, English, and ESL Stack Exchange sites, along with questions about other languages like the aforementioned English ones. The main problem I can think of with this is the very varied expertise levels, ESL questions alongside professional linguists'. We see this at Judaism SE and it leads to a few problems. (a) Tyros don't tag questions correctly. They simply don't know that the question is a morphology question. (b) People answer at the wrong level, including too much jargon or too little info for a tyro. (c) It's hard to find questions at the level you want unless there's a tag (or, here, category) for level, which there can't really be because it's a spectrum rather than a binary assignment.

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General comments (2 comments)
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Site name suggestion: Languages and Linguistics

I believe there is little overlap in expertise of the two, so both terms should be included.

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How Broad Is Your Scope?

Broad categorization of the types of questions one might expect on a languages+linguistics site, from someone who knows very little about linguistics except what he's been able to gather from skimming the tags on the Linguistics and some Language SEs.

These are presented in no particular order, and the lists of potential sub-categories is by no means exhaustive.

  1. Word grammar. On morphology, conjugation and declension, intonation, and lexicology.

  2. Sentence grammar. On syntax and word order.

  3. Phonetics. On IPA representation, pronunciation, tonality, phonology, and accents.

  4. Orthography. On spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and typography.

  5. Study of Linguistics. On studying linguistics, and on studying how linguistics affects other fields. Includes typology, computational linguistics, theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and language philosophy. Would also include questions like "does any language have feature X?".

  6. Physiology of Language. On the anatomy and physiology of the brain, throat, and oral and nasal cavities in how they relate to speech.

  7. Historical Linguistics. On etymology, language change, semantic development, comparative linguistics, dialect formation, and language construction and origination.

  8. Language Learning. On tips and techniques related to learning a new language (in particular or in general).

  9. Semantics. On the meaning of words as expressed through context and subtext.

  10. Onomasiology. Or in English, "What's the word for...?"

  11. Translation and Identification. "What does this mean?" or "I can't make out X word in what from context appears to be Y language."

  12. Research and Terminology. On "what is X linguistic/grammatical concept called" or "where can I find more resources on Y" type questions.

  13. Informal Language. On idioms, slang, and informal usages and words.

So step one is going to have to be: how broad a scope would a theoretical language and linguistics site have? Of these broad categories, which ones are going to be entirely on-topic, which ones entirely off-topic, and which ones restricted?

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General comments (4 comments)
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Separating Languages

As noted elsewhere, one possible setup for the site is to have a main Q&A for "everything" and as individual languages build up they can progress to:

  • Category - named for the language, standard Q&A, all existing questions moved based on tags.
  • Separate Community - named for the language, standard Q&A + Meta + possibly other categories as appropriate, all existing questions moved by category.

Exact parameters will vary, with number of active users and number of new questions per day being the biggest factor. It might be something like 2 questions per day gets a Category and 10 questions per day gets a new Community (provided there are people interested in moderating, etc.)

Extra Functionality

This community will need RTL language support for Hebrew and other languages, and possibly other special CSS, font or other features depending on specific features needed to properly handle different languages.

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General comments (4 comments)
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Scope Question

Is language learning and acquisition within scope? Presumably many community members will be learning a language; are questions about resources, learning routines, etc. on-topic? In a Discord discussion the question of translation and vocabulary came up - what would be in / out of scope there?

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