Talk:Sotho people

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Basotho or Sotho people?[edit]

At Zyxoas's request I'm copying relevant portions of a discussion we were having on my talk page to here. — mark 16:40, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Let me try this 1 more time. What's you view, exactly? That:

  1. The most common name should be used,
  2. prefixes should all be removed (seemingly Nguni's view), or
  3. there should consistency between disparate articles, regardless of context and content (Dwo's view, for today)?

If you follow the first view then the article should be at Basotho, since this is the most common name used when talking about the history of Lesotho, South Africa, and Great Britain; both here on Wikipedia (Lesotho, Moshoeshoe I) and in books I've read (eg Google for "Hill of Destiny") and TV programs I've seen etc. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 10:26, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

As I said on the talk page, I don't feel strongly on this issue, partly because I'm more at home in the linguistic literature than in the literature on the people, partly because the sources I have seen are about evenly divided between Sotho and Basotho, and partly because I do not have a strong preference myself for either Basotho or Sotho people. As for your options, I'd go for option one, as I have always done here on Wikipedia. But this case is a tough call, as it is going to be quite difficult to show which form really is more common.
Take the library of the African Studies Center, for example (a very complete library in the field of African Studies). There are 36 publications listed with the word 'Basotho' in the title, and 56 ones which use the word 'Sotho' in the ethnographic sense (I have omitted 10 which refer to the language). This makes clear that there certainly is not a simple majority for Basotho in this field. Same holds for Google results (which I, by the way, deeply mistrust for deciding matters like these). — mark 13:50, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

There was no general consensus among editors that Basotho should've been moved to Sotho people, nor was there a need to implement "standardisation" as Wikipedia has survived thus far without there ever being a need to "standardise" any article names since that would mean changing the generally accepted names -- contrary to popular opinion.

This should have been discussed first, and I believe that had it been then there would not have been a move.

This is unnecessary and misinformed and should be undone. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 17:47, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

How do we determine what the most common English usage is? I'd like to move this discussion beyond the realm of personal opinion (assuming that we're agreed that common English usage is the way to go). However, it's not so easy. I tried searching a social sciences publication database, and got comparable numbers of results for "Sotho", "Basotho", and "Sesotho" (with "Sotho" returning the highest number of publications). As pointed out above, google searches are similarly inconclusive, as are news searches. If, as seems to be the case, both terms are in common usage, I'd say there are good reasons for sticking with the prefix-less names, along the lines of NguniTraveller's arguments at Talk:Sotho language. —Batamtig 03:31, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

There's no reason to indiscriminately remove prefixes. Simon's argument that one needs to know the entire language to use names with prefixes is completely false -- and I believe that I've convincingly demonstrated this. One doesn't need to understand the grammar and morphology of various foreign words to use them (and, in the case of French, even pronounce them using vowels, consonants, pronunciations which don't exist/make sense in English).

Where did you demonstrate this? Once again, there's plenty of literature out there which uses "Sotho", so the prefix-less form is not indiscriminate. As has been pointed out time and time again, English very seldom uses language names which are the same as those of the native speakers, thus there are articles at Hebrew language and Hebrews, but none at Ivrit or Ivrim (or even 'Ivrim), there are articles at Japanese language and Japanese people, but none at Nihongo or Nihonjin, an article at Swahili language but none at Kiswahili language. You're demanding an exception to be made in English WP in the sole case of Sesotho and Basotho. Exceptions can and should be made, but only with good reason.
Look, as an encyclopedia article, this should be accessible to as many English-speakers as possible, including those who know nothing about (Se)sotho or Basotho, but who'd like to find out. To illustrate the problem with prefixing, let's say I'd like to find out about more about Swahili. Now, I know that "Kiswahili" is the correct prefixed term for the language, thanks to some reading. But, I have no idea what to call "Swahili speakers" in the type of prefixed language that you're demanding. Is it "Baswahili", "Abaswahili"...? Searching through the article, I find that "Waswahili refers to the people of the 'Swahili Coast'". Do I use the same term for "Swahili speakers"? I guess so. Now, what do I call a single Swahili speaker? Again, I'm completely lost. As someone with no prior knowledge of the language, I simply have no idea what prefixed terms to use. In fact, if I choose the wrong prefixed term, I might get in trouble, since "Uswahili" is apparently a pejorative term in Tanzania. This is the kind of knowledge you're demanding of people before they can talk sensibly about the language or the people. The alternative, (in my mind the most sensible alternative) is to simply follow the normal English rules for proper nouns and adjectives, thus: Swahili language, Swahili people, Swahili speakers, a Swahili person. I just have to know the word "Swahili" and I can make the correct terms for all of these things. Why not use normal English conventions? All of this has an exact analogy when we're talking about Sotho/Sesotho/Basotho.
This is one of SimonDonnely/NguniTraveller's arguments, and it's still quite valid IMO. If you read his text closely you'll see that he has other important objections. —Batamtig 10:52, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Basotho is a VERY common name, and the initial move was unnecessary and misinformed and should be undone. Had this been discussed before, I believe that the move wouldn't have been agreed upon, and it's strange that I now have to try so hard to get this simple mistake corrected. The fact that the article has already been moved does not magically give the pro-"Sotho people" arguments any more weight and validity than they would've had before. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 08:51, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the simple fact the article was moved does not by itself provide any validity. That's not the point IMO. Perhaps the problem you're facing now is that you've been zealously guarding these articles, and removing the prefix-less "mistakes" as soon as you see them, and this is something that apparently other editors don't agree with, but they haven't said anything about it until now. Now we're having more people weigh in on the issue, you need to give compelling arguments for keeping the prefixed forms. You're finding it more difficult to make others accept your word for it that these are the "correct" forms. On wikipedia, you have to be prepared to discuss and defend editorial decisions. In my experience, the editors are a reasonable bunch and will give you a fair hearing, and if you meet someone unreasonable there are reasonably effective ways of dealing with them. One cannot, however, simply claim that things should be the way one thinks they should be, because one is an "expert" on them, and then express grinding frustration when other editors refuse to accept this.
Now, I agree that "Basotho" is a common term. The problem is that it's not the only term. I'm also from SA, and despite what I've said above, I actually do think that that "Basotho" might be the most common term (unlike "Sesotho", IMO). This might be a rare case when one can make an exception and use the prefixed form. However, I'm not yet convinced. That's why I'm asking for more evidence. I agree that it might be difficult to find such evidence. Perhaps other editors could provide some help here. Also, what to do if it turns out both terms are in common usage? I think it's possible to resolve this if everyone approaches it calmly, assumes good faith, and gives the other side's arguments a fair hearing. —Batamtig 10:52, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

The typical English speaker need only type in "Sotho" where they'll be taken to a dab linking to Sesotho language and Basotho (no, the fact that Zulu etc redirect to the language is not really a good reason for not making Sotho a dab).

Of course, none of us here (with one possibly exception) qualifies as "a typical English speaker"... Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 12:39, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Maasai and Kinyarwanda language are two accepted exceptions to the prefix-less view. I wonder what the "typical English speaker" thinks of that... Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 12:44, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, but I still don't know the "correct" term for "Swahili speaker" or "Swahili speakers". Now, I could, by dint of considerable effort find out and memorize the prefixes (three in this case, and by analogy, at least three times the number of Bantu languages I'm interested in), but what would I have gained? I'm not really learning substantively about the languages by doing so. I simply don't see the point, and you haven't told me what is the point, of abandoning the English language conventions. —Batamtig 21:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Of course, none of us here (with one possibly exception) qualifies as "a typical English speaker"... Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 12:39, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

"Typical English speaker" is not my phrase. I'm asking for common English usage to be reflected, and for the article to be accessible to as many English users as reasonably possible, both "typical" and "atypical". I'm not actually sure what you mean by the above, seemingly sarcastic, comment. Are you implying that I'm the only one who thinks this is common English usage? That's certainly not the case, looking at this page and at Talk:Sotho language. —Batamtig 21:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Maasai and Kinyarwanda language are two accepted exceptions to the prefix-less view. I wonder what the "typical English speaker" thinks of that... Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 12:44, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Not so fast, apparently the Maasai call themselves "il Maasai", but that's not how the page is titled. Also, they call their language "ɔl Maa", yet the language article is at Maasai language. So in this case, English has again settled on one word — "Maasai" — Maasai people, a Maasai person, the Maasai language. It's just that in this case, common English usage happens to be a particular prefixed (postfixed?) version. The analogy with Sotho would be to have articles at Basotho people and Basotho language, which I'm sure you wouldn't support.
On a more important than all these "technical details" — let me repeat my statement — exceptions can and should be made, but only with good reason. —Batamtig 21:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Lingala is one of the best examples of exceptions; the prefix-less variant Ngala is really never used. In this particular case, that has mainly to do with the turbulent history of the language (being tossed to and fro between standardization and creolization), see for example Lingala language#History and Talk:Lingala_language#Lingala.2FBangala.
As for the case at hand, I have also asked for more evidence which will help us determine which variant is more common. Simply stating that one variant is common isn't enough — nobody disagrees with that; the point is rather that there seem to be two common variants. In that light, I can't see why it hurts to have it at Sotho people, seeing as this is the English Wikipedia.
Also note that whatever the name, the article is still only 433 words large. Isn't that more important? — mark 15:38, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

I've sort of dealt with a similar issue at Talk:Ubuntu and Talk:Ubuntu (ideology). This is intended to (eventually, someday, perhaps) be an encyclopedia of World knowledge, not simply a reflection of the naturally limited knowledge of first language speakers of English.

Who said anything about "first language speakers of English". There are plenty of non-first-language English speakers worldwide who use English wikipedia, yet know nothing about Bantu prefixes. Why shouldn't it also be accessible to them? —Batamtig 21:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

So Ubuntu is a dab linking to both the ideology and the the Linux distribution, even though 1 out of every 137,85 people typing in "Ubuntu" would be looking info on the O.S.

There was nothing profoundly incorrect with the previous situation where the article was @ Basotho, and the move should be undone. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 17:27, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

No, I disagree: that is not a good example. The problem with Ubuntu (and you'll find my name on those talk pages a lot too) is that a popular Linux Distribution was named after it, and that Linux geeks are thinking the Linux distro is actually more notable than the ethnophilosophical concept on which its name was based. That is quite different from the question which term is more commonly used to refer to the people that are the subject of this particular article, 'Sotho people' or 'Basotho'. — mark 19:21, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

I used that example to show that we probably sometimes shouldn't give so much weight to what this fabled "typical English speaker" may or may not be thinking. Also, the sensoo why I offered the counterexamples with Kinyarwanda etc is to show that the "this is what every other article is like" argument is not awfully valid.

Does anyone still believe Simon's "prefixes are evil" argument? Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 20:39, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

That's a distortion of his argument. He recommends using prefixless names when these are most common (as in the majority of linguistic publications on Bantu of the past 100 years), except for clear exceptions where the form with prefix is the most common. That's also my position. — mark 20:53, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Of course, in my last comment "sensoo" should've been "reason", and 1 person would be looking for the ideology, not the O.S. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 21:35, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Are there any editors other than Zyxoas who support the view that the move should be undone? It seems that Joziboy has retreated from his "pro-Sesotho" view at Talk:Sotho language. This is obviously not a popularity contest, but Zyxoas, you're talking like there was some pre-existing consensus on the prefixed terms. "Not profoundly incorrect" isn't exactly the standard we should be going for. The point is to establish some consensus on where the article should be, not just to move it back and forth. Did the prior title of the page indicate a community consensus? If it did, it can be moved back. Why is asking for more evidence problematic for you? —Batamtig 21:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
As I said above, I don't have a strong preference for one over the other. I fully agree with you that we shouldn't move it back and forth, but at the same time I thought this discussion was leading nowhere and was holding us off from contributing. Therefore I messaged Zyxoas to move it back if that would ease his mind. I propose to revisit in a few months. In the meantime, Zyxoas will have found the peace of mind to contribute some excellent verifiable content on the Basotho (how's that for bribing for the good of the encyclopedia?). — mark 11:49, 23 December 2006 (UTC)


"excellent verifiable content", hey? Want to include my discourse on the confusion over the name "Basotho", or should I try and reword it first? Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 12:38, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Violations of WP:OWN[edit]

Mark's preceding comment, the page move reversion, and the tone of the conversations here and about Sesotho/Sotho language (here [1] and here [2]) are serious violations of WP:OWN. The editors on these pages seem to be "tiptoeing" around, "scared" of introducing prefix-less names, for fear of offending the sensibilities of a single (admittedly very valuable) editor, who automatically reverts and responds with personal attacks when other editors try to remove prefixes ([3] [4] [5]), refuses to even allow changes like "amaZulu" to "Zulu" (despite the fact that community consensus has the relevant article at Zulu), and asserts that he is automatically correct on these issues due to his "privileged first-hand" knowledge, which other users allegedly don't have. For instance, this quote by Zyxoas, "When will these people stop trying to mess around with Sesotho language!?". Where else on WP is such behaviour tolerated, no matter how highly prized the editor's contribution may be?

Mark, your "bribing for the good of the encyclopedia" sounds very much like WP:OWN's "Multiple editors — the involvement of multiple editors, each of which defends the ownership of the other, can be highly complex. The simplest scenario usually comprises a dominant primary editor who is defended by other editors, reinforcing the former's ownership." I'm sure that your intentions are good and you're obviously doing great work on African languages, but nonetheless, this is the net effect of your actions.

Despite this, you're just postponing the inevitable. If it's not resolved now, the prefix issue will be raised again and again, (not necessarily by me), doubtless accompanied by reactions like "this conversation is not really important", and "why do I have such problems getting people to see that they're mistaken and my way is obviously correct". I know that you (Mark) feel that the long argument about naming is counterproductive, and I see your point, but I don't think that's the main issue here, and it certainly doesn't justify the repeated violations of WP policy.

Batamtig 17:48, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

WP:OWN is not a law one may "violate", but thanks for your valuable input anyway. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 20:55, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

WP:OWN is an official policy of wikipedia, and it most definitely can be violated. —Batamtig 23:19, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
Batamtig, upon rereading all of the discussion, I can see why you are citing the 'multiple editors' clause of WP:OWN. But let me get that out of the way first: I have moved Sesotho language to Sotho language against the express wishes of its 'owner' Zyxoas; in fact, in explaining my actions I pointed out that Zyxoas was taking too much ownership. At no point I have acted to back up Zyxoas or anyone else (you will note that at one point Zyxoas claimed the reverse, namely that I empowered D.wo.).
I have been clear about the choices I have made, both here and at Talk:Sotho language. They have nothing to do with defending someone, but rather, as you also noted above, with the fact that I value pragmatism above endless deliberations, keeping in mind WP:ENC. If a discussion isn't working out for some reason or another, I move along and I revisit after some time. There is nothing urgent about the naming issue here. In fact, as you and I have both noted, this case isn't as clear-cut as the Sesotho language→Sotho language move, which is precisely why I have not been as go-ahead as I was in that case.
Finally, I must say I agree that Zyxoas does tend to take too much ownership of articles he has been personally involved in. This stands in the way of a productive discussion towards consensus. — mark 09:40, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and one comment on my tongue-in-cheek 'bribing for the good of the encyclopedia'-remark: perhaps I wasn't being very clear, but it was meant to clarify why I messaged Zyxoas: to lure him into contributing more content instead of continuing pointless discussions. — mark 09:51, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Hi Mark,
I've reviewed Talk:Sotho language and I'm afraid I misjudged you. I apologise for this. It's just that I did see some "tiptoeing" by other users on that page, and on the other relevant talk pages mentioned above, and I was concerned that all the requests I saw to "take a break" on the issue were just reinforcing the ownership problems. I was also concerned by two other problems, as I saw it; firstly that D.Wo. was becoming alienated — but I've left a message on his talk page, and I'll let him talk for himself, if he wants to. Secondly, I was concerned about what was happening "behind the scenes" — but I don't think it's appropriate to mention those concerns explicitly in this forum, and I was most likely wrong in my reading of things.
I still think there are ownership problems here. However, since you think we should take a break, I won't push the naming issue, for the time being, unless others raise it, (but see my comments in the next sections, on why I think it should be resolved soon). I'll just make a few more generic comments below.
Be well, —Batamtig 23:52, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

On being a non-exception to prefixlessness (and on not misquoting me)[edit]

I wasn't going to take up the Sotho/Basotho discussion, but there are two things perhaps to say:

First, it is true that Basotho has been used by a number of writers in recent years (over perhaps the last ?20 years). But my earlier point about exceptions to the general prefixless norm in the Bantu linguistic and research world doesn't apply to Basotho, because there was already a norm that had been established in the two centuries preceding the last 20 years ("Sotho"). So, there is indeed little or no parallel between Basotho and Lingala (where Lingala seems essentially never to have been called simply Ngala in the literature). There is a parallel with Rwanda, which wasn't called Kinyarwanda until this same recent time period.

Second, if the following comment (from some paragraphs above) is in fact from ZyXoas, then this is the second time he has misrepresented what I wrote on the Talk:Sotho_language page. (Must I infer that this is intentional, or just persistently careless?) —

There's no reason to indiscriminately remove prefixes. Simon's argument that one needs to know the entire language to use names with prefixes is completely false -- and I believe that I've convincingly demonstrated this. One doesn't need to understand the grammar and morphology of various foreign words to use them (and, in the case of French, even pronounce them using vowels, consonants, pronunciations which don't exist/make sense in English).

I quote myself, from the Talk:Sotho_language page:

"Responding to the feedback from ZyXoas above, the reader will note I did not write what ZyXoas attributed to me, about needing to know the entire language. I did write: "But to know which version [of the Class 7 prefix] you should use, you need to first know the language in question..."."

Please desist from misquoting me. It's an intellectually unhelpful way of proceeding.

ZyXoas, you are right: you do not need to know any "entire language" to quote prefixes from that language in English. But then no one claimed you did. This is a straw-man argument. And no, you haven't "convincingly demonstrated" this. You've supplied a number of important aspects to this discussion, and then you've merely claimed your position flatly. Claiming and "convincingly demonstrating" have very distinct thresholds of accountability.

And no, ZyXoas has not rebutted in any substantial way my demonstrated (and demonstrable) claim that you do need to first know [specific information] about the language in question to know which prefix to use for which noun class. You cannot know the shape of a particular prefix (even the common Class 7 language prefix) until you know what that particular language happens to do, because this information doesn't follow from anything (unless you have access to sound shift laws from Proto-Bantu — and even the occurrence of these constitutes language-specific information). So, for the nine Bantu languages in South Africa, the non-speaker of these languages must go and find this specific information and learn it. (And this gets multiplied out by the number of prefixes that are regarded as important to quote in English, typically at least mo-, ba-, and se-).

It strikes me this prefix-frenzy is a kind of pseudo-knowledge that has little of substance to do with Wikipedia's mandate.

While we're at it, demonising the interlocutor in the discussion — "completely false", and again "Does anyone still believe Simon's "prefixes are evil" argument?" — is really not helpful to the discussion. The prefixes used in each Bantu language are utterly crucial to that language (they are just not useful to discussing that language in English!).

"Amen!" to the call to focus on creating more content (more than simply contesting the shape of article title phrases). Cheers — NguniTraveller 01:57, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Hi NT,
Thanks for weighing in with your opinions. You might be right that the "prefix-frenzy is a kind of pseudo-knowledge" and you're certainly right to request the creation of more content. However, there are a few points I'd raise in response to your remarks:
  1. The prefix argument doesn't just concern the articles' titles, but also terms contained within the article ("amaZulu", "Batswana") which are not consistent with other WP articles, and may be confusing.
  2. This issue is bound to recur, as we've seen in many places, including Talk:Sotho language and Talk:African languages. It's evidently an important issue to those who keep raising it. This is reason to seek a consensus. The fact that you feel (and you might be right) that it's not important within the wider realm of Bantu linguistics is not a reason to cut off discussion; it is a reason to seek a rapid consensus, which we can then implement.
  3. A number of Authors have been alienated when they have (quite innocently, IMO) raised the question of why prefix-terms are used, and been "bitten" by Zyxoas. D. Wo. even saw fit to get an advocate to work on his behalf at WP:AMA because on this issue.
  4. The main point of my current objection: Harmonious relations between authors, seeking consensus, dialogue, the assumption of good faith, and encouraging newbie authors to make contributions are all crucial to the way that WP works (see WP:POL, and all of these things are being undermined by the current state of affairs.
  5. I don't feel particularly encouraged to add new content if I feel that this new content is going to be "censored" on account of not having the "correct" prefix notation.
  6. Last but not least, determining the appropriate title for an article is arguably an important function of an encyclopedias editorship.
It's kind of ironic that it was your arguments about prefixes which persuaded me to comment on the issue in the first place.
Be well, —Batamtig 03:05, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, Batamtig. I like all the points you've raised here. I may have given the impression of wanting to cut off discussion of the prefix issue, which in a sense I don't (discussion is good), and yet in another sense I do want—like you, and Mark and many others—to reach a principled decision, and then urge that that decision be implemented consistently. In this, again I believe we totally agree. I believe the principles have been laid out quite clearly. I don't know quite who has the authority to act definitively (I don't currently have the level of commitment required to follow up the various protocols). I do think the time for that acting is now.

Yes, people will keep on raising the prefix issue, because it is so "accessible" as an issue (you can SEE the prefixes, or their absence, right away), whereas contentful discussion of and contributions on Bantu languages is much much harder to do. The newcomers who do raise the prefix issue can be referred to WP policy and to the existing discussion histories. If a decision has been taken, then let the relevant WP policy-implementers implement now.

The strength of WP is its "democratic" approach to the presentation of information. One of its stumbling blocks can be the hogging of space and the terrorising of contributors by certain users (sometimes lone users). I totally agree.

I tried to say it in my original comments on Talk:Sotho_language, perhaps not clearly enough: the prefix issue affects ALL uses of a name stem (e.g. Sotho) in another language (e.g. English). AmaZulu and Basotho make as little sense as do IsiZulu and Sesotho. So, my comment about "pseudo-knowledge" extends to all uses of prefixes artificially glued on to stems in the context of non-native discourse (in our case: writing in English about Bantu languages). I called it pseudo-knowledge, because the corollary of needing to know something about a language before knowing the prefix is that one can in fact learn ONLY these prefixes, without knowing anything about the language, and then implicitly or explicitly claim some authority on things Bantu or African, without any real contentful knowledge or contribution.

I think the user who has raised your heckles (and those of many) does have a contentful contribution to make, but that as with all contributions, his contributions need to be within certain boundaries (sometimes where there may be boundaries that he may not like). No biting, no terrorising. Yes to consensus (and its firm subsequent implementation). Amen again.

I think we're seeing eye-to-eye here! Cheers for now, NguniTraveller 16:36, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm glad we're seeing eye-to-eye. There's no real "protocol" on who has the "authority" to make changes to articles. Anyone may change the article at any time for any reason they feel appropriate. It's strongly suggested that you follow good "wikiquette", by seeking consensus and not engaging in revert-wars. Beyond that, once again, any user can take it on themselves to implement a consensus opinion. —Batamtig 00:03, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Moved to Sotho[edit]

Now, I don't intend to open a can of worms; I do think we should follow the naming conventions, which prescribe using English names on the English Wikipedia. Hence, we don't have Waswahili but Swahili people; we don't have Ewetowó but Ewe people; we don't have Nederlanders but Dutch people; and tons of other examples.

I fully recognize the important contributions of Zyxoas, the main proponent of Basotho, in precisely this area of Wikipedia; but this doesn't mean he gets to decide unilaterally what the title is to be. Although I highly value his contributions and his good humour, I want to take a stand against the ownership issues he displays now and then.

Sometimes it helps to turn the issue around to get a clearer view. If this page should be titled Basotho, why are the Sotho articles st:Senyesemane and st:Se-jeremane not called Se-English and Se-Deutsch?

But I don't want to replay this debate which by now spans more pages than the constellation of Sotho articles itself. I just want to register my support of the consensus that has been reached in different places and I think it is time to simply enforce the consensus. — mark 21:01, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, I don't really care much for the Sesotho Wikipedia -- the only reason why I haven't ask RFP to get rid of my adminship is because I don't even think that THAT is worth it.
I am not at all convinced of this "consensus" since quite a large proportion of what I've seen regularly talks of "Basotho" or "Basuto." The are NO EXAMPLES of "Waswili," therefore there's no need for a debate -- everyone understand?
Your argument seems fallacious:
1. We must follow English
2. X-Y appears as Y in English
3. Prefixes are EVIL!!
3 is not a valid conclusion (it's an invalid generalisation), though you seem more than willing to apply it everywhere.
About me taking "ownership" -- I'm protecting my investment. Looking at the festering sacks of shit the Sesotho articles have become while everyone else did zilch it looks there's a real need for me to continue "owning" them (as best as I can with my handicap) until y'all get your priorities straight (protecting content vs. giving trolls free advice).
Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 06:06, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not thinking that prefixes are evil. As a linguist, I quite like the Bantu noun class systems. I'm just saying that we should follow English usage.
Thanks that you're at last commenting on the ownership issue. Can you explain in what sense the name "Basotho" is going to protect your investment more than the title "Sotho people". There is this feeling of yours that everything deteriorates when a few naming conventions are followed; where does this come from? It is not in line with my experience.
Your fabulous expansion of Sotho language could have happened just as well if you had used "Sotho" or "Sotho language" instead of Sesotho. I don't see at which point the articles become a festering sack of shit. — mark 07:52, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Alright: 3. Prefixes in English are evil!! "Basotho" is (and has alway been -- even before these "debates") a widely accepted English term. This is a falsifiable claim which may be tested without resorting to generalisations -- but this has not been done here. If I had created the content with "Sotho" instead of (the perfectly acceptable and increasingly preferred) "Sesotho" then they still wouldn't look as horrible as the do now. I (double) dare you to go to the versions a few days ago and see for yourself what the problems are. I don't write article that look like this. Tebello TheWHO!!?? 09:26, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm glad that the capitals have gone. Now ditch the double interpunction and we're getting somewhere. ;) Yeah, in some sense, prefixes in English are evil; in the same sense, to be precise, as suffixes in English are evil. Our article on a well known classical language of India isn't located at Saṃskṛtam (heck, not even at Saṃskṛtā) eventhough I don't doubt that much of the scholarly literature uses these names. I do still not see why you would like Basotho/Sesotho to be an exception to our naming conventions. I simply can't see a good reason. And personal preference isn't one, I'm sorry. Neither is the dubious contention that the articles miraculously become a 'festering sack of shit' simply by having a common name. If you have a problem with red links (I don't like them either), remember that redirects are cheap. — mark 16:58, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


"Basotho" seems to be (with the possible exception of the historical "Basuto") to be the most common English name and not "Sotho people." Do you believe otherwise? If this is true will the article be moved back?

If you would care to look at this article's history, (correct me if I'm wrong) you would see that "Basotho people" was the original name of this article. This was a decision reached by Wiki editors before I even knew the article existed. The current confusion stems from User:Dwo's inappropriate move a while ago (another manic cephalophobe). Agree?

"Basotho" was, and still is, the most appropriate name. The malinformed and rash actions of 2 uncooperative trolls with no real interest in this article shouldn't change that for us.

Tebello TheWHO!!?? 17:48, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

According to my good friend Mnr. Google:

"Sotho people" -- 813
Sotho (moshesh OR mosheshe OR moshoeshoe OR moshweshwe) -- 19 400
Basuto -- 91 000
Basotho -- 247 000 and 52 cents...

I tried to make the 2nd search as useful as possible without including too many "Sotho language" hits, relying on the fact that, due to his relationship with the Cape and Britain, almost all accounts of Basotho mention Moshoeshoe I.

Btw, all this confusion disappears if the names "Basotho" and "Sesotho" are used (many "Sotho people" hits are about the Bapedi and other Northern Basotho peoples, not Basotho) -- so prefixes aren't so EVIL!!!!!111 after all...

Tebello TheWHO!!?? 18:13, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh dude, check this out:

Sotho people (Lesotho OR basutoland) -- 88 700 after v.a.t.

That's without any quotes. The country names are for the fact that if an article speaks of a culture you would also expect it to mention its nation. It's highly likely that an article about Sesotho will briefly mention where it's spoken without reference to the culture, thus the inclusion of "people" to narrow it down just a bit.

Is everyone satisfied (for the next 4 or so months)?

Tebello TheWHO!!?? 18:31, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

"related groups" info removed from infobox[edit]

For dedicated editors of this page: The "Related Groups" info was removed from all {{Infobox Ethnic group}} infoboxes. Comments may be left here. Ling.Nut 23:04, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Reviving the discussion[edit]

After reading this page for the first time in 6 months, I realise that the comment I made above at 17:48 could've potentially been misunderstood. The second troll was not Mark but rather the mentally perturbed DawnRetard (who, although he stuck around for longer than the 2 weeks I had initially divined, did eventually quietly disappear in an understated puff of nothing). I apologise for any misunderstanding or offence.

Yes, I moved the article back today. Ultimately, apparent trends should not be interpreted as absolute rules by default. I realise that Google tests do have their problems and I did try my best to make the results as relevant as possibly (even with the problems, there is still a stark and conclusive difference between the negative and affirmative results). I have waited patiently for half a year for a discussion which never came.

Tebello TheWHAT!!?? 20:57, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

And I have waited patiently for half a year for these articles to become a 'festering sack of shit', which never happened! Really, this is just an ultra-slow move war which I'm now disengaging myself from. Have fun! — mark 08:02, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, this should be obvious, but at risk of insulting your intelligence I'll tell you anyway. The articles were being vandalised by DawnTrebuchet; DT has since moved on to a happier place; thus the vandalism has stopped. Of course, when he WAS around, very little was done to stop his vandalism and his personal attacks (which I'm still very disappointed about -- but I've moved on) and a disproportionate amount of energy was invested in arguing about the titles of articles which had basically become useless (of course, this wouldn't have been the first or last argument like that on Wikipedia).

At risk of insulting you even further: I feel that simply ignoring and not even commenting once on my Google tests (which I gave you at least two opportunities above to do for yourself before I did them) suggests to me a type of intellectual dishonesty wrt this matter. It's okay though -- I'm happy with the eventual result but I'm not happy with how it happened.

Tebello TheWHAT!!?? 08:49, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Let me clarify that last point raised by you. I have mentioned in several places that I do not believe that Google tests are helpful in deciding matters like this. That is why I did not respond to these results; it was not because I don't like the results or something. In fact, to be honest I simply did not look closely because of my dislike of Google tests.
Now that I have looked, I do see your point; I agree with you that Basotho is very common in the Google results. However, although I do admire your cautiousness in picking the right search phrases, there remains the simple problem of determining which of the 1.500.000 hits for "Sotho" (six times as much as the total number of hits for "Basotho"!) are about the language(s) and which are about the people. Are you in all seriousness implying that at least 84% of these hits must concern the language? Judging from your argument, you are; but I think it needs no pointing out that this is improbable.
In fact, searching for "Sotho -language" (i.e. excluding hits which also contain the word 'language', thereby probably excluding a good number of bona fide 'people' uses given the fact that people and language are closely intertwined subjects) turns up a whopping 675.000, which strenghtens my impression that Sotho as used for the people is still very typical of English usage.
I stand by my opinion as outlined in my earlier comments on this page, but I won't bother moving this article again. — mark 09:57, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

As can be seen from looking at Sotho, the 84% you cite needs to be divided between at least 3 uses (yes, I know this is terribly unscientific, but you suggested it).

While we are still indulging ourselves in pseudoscience, note the following:

Sotho -language -languages. 600 000 hits.

The first 2 hits are from sotho.blogsme, a Sesotho poetry site

The 3rd hit is for a dictionary

The 4th and 5th are translations of Silent Night into Sesotho and Northern Sotho

The 6th is another dictionary

The 7th is a Sesotho translation of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act

The 8th is another dictionary

The 9th and final hit on the first page is the first one that actually talks about the people

My most basic plea is this: since it is basically impossible to prove either view conclusively and scientifically, let us follow the growing English trend of using the native names when non-native varieties are not sufficiently well-established. It's the liberal thing to do!! :-D

Tebello TheWHAT!!?? 11:38, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

We are full circle, for the undecidability of the matter was my starting observation several months ago. It will not surprise you that I disagree with your plea to follow 'growing trends'. Consistency doesn't care about growing trends, much less about the liberal thing to do. Consistency is what users of an encyclopedia need, and what the Naming Conventions provide for. I see no reason to not follow them. — mark 13:05, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Okay, dude. But liberalism is the new fashion! Some of my best friends are (self-proclaimed) Bantus (like Ezeu)!! I don't have a problem with these people and there are a few of them who are very intelligent and not like the rest of them...

Tebello TheWHAT!!?? 14:16, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Is it just me that's missing the link between liberalism and having Bantu friends? I don't have a problem with these people either, eventhough they speak -the horror- a language full of prefixes! Just kidding, I love noun class systems. — mark 15:44, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

just a question[edit]

Are we saying that without Moshoeshoe there would be no Sotho people? That's what the intro says. Garibaldi unitted the Italaians, Bismark united the Germans, but I've never heard it said that they created such nations. I think this needs toning down. With or without Moshoeshoe there WOULD have been Sotho people. Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 14:33, 24 February 2014 (UTC)