Wikipedia:Vernacular scripts

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Background[edit]

Many editors have started adding vernacular scripts to intro (lead) of articles on English Wikipedia. There have been some edit wars/disputes regarding which scripts to add (or whether to add scripts at all). This problem is esp. severe in India-related articles because of many scripts used in the country. This page attempts to achieve a consensus regarding use of vernacular scripts in the intro of articles on English Wikipedia.

Please keep the proposals succinct. Discussions should be carried out on the talk page.

Use of scripts[edit]

Proposal 1: Use of only native scripts in the intro[edit]

Proposed by

  • --D-Boy 01:43, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Rationale:

  • The most important reason is verifiability; in many cases, people and topics from non-English-speaking countries and regions are documented largely (or exclusively) in the local language. Romanization is frequently problematic, so it is often difficult or impossible to reconstruct the original name if only a romanization is given. Also, many articles don't have interwikis, and even when they do the title of the linked article may not accurately reflect the native-language name (due to disambiguation, NPOV, etc.). More generally, on Wikipedia native-language names have traditionally been considered necessary for full, encyclopedic treatment of a topic. That is why we have Category:Lacking non-English text.
  • The inclusion of such allows, in a "Rosetta Stone"-like manner, one to know the native spelling and to search for websites and photos about the person on websites in the original language or (especially helpful in the absence of a comparable interwiki article in that language.
  • Many other articles have these type of script but that's not raising an eyebrow anywhere. For example, Aristotle, Plato display Greek script. Li Peng has chinese script (yes, several different scripts). There doesn't seem to be any problem with those articles.
  • Wikipedia:Indic transliteration scheme available for users who do not understand the script
  • Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Use_of_vernacular_scripts_in_India_bio_articles_-_2 I've stated everything here.--D-Boy 01:43, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Notes:

  • Indian articles are being singled out. Other articles such as chinese, japanese, russian, arabic have their own scripts.
  • No problem with Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist articles.
  • No problems with Bengali and most state articles.

Special cases:

  • not right to add Urdu to Bollywood articles ad hoc, more so for Bollowood bios (Kajol article for example had Urdu but no Marathi!. Unless the said movie uses stresses on Urdu (as understood in post-1947 context). No point in adding urdu script to articles like say Lage Raho (author's opinion for this case only)--D-Boy 06:49, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Proposal 2: Use of all relevant scripts in the intro[edit]

Eg. for the Rajnikanth article, Marathi, Kannada and Tamil scripts are relevant scripts.

Proposed by

  • Sarvabhaum

Rationale:

  • Obviously there are many articles where many vernacular scripts are relevant. Ex.Chandigarh, Belgaum, Punjab, Delhi, Kajol, cities of UP etc.

Notes:

  • Which one should come first? It should be decided by the degree of relevance. In the case of Kajol it should be Bengali first and Belgaum and Chandigarh, Marathi and Punjabi first (respectively).

Special cases:

  • N/A

Proposal 3: Use of a box for vernacular scripts[edit]

Move the vernacular scripts to a box where they don't interrupt the article. Eg. can be seen at Kalarippayattu.

Proposed by

  • --D-Boy 03:30, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Rationale:

  • The most important reason is verifiability; in many cases, people and topics from non-English-speaking countries and regions are documented largely (or exclusively) in the local language. Romanization is frequently problematic, so it is often difficult or impossible to reconstruct the original name if only a romanization is given. Also, many articles don't have interwikis, and even when they do the title of the linked article may not accurately reflect the native-language name (due to disambiguation, NPOV, etc.). More generally, on Wikipedia native-language names have traditionally been considered necessary for full, encyclopedic treatment of a topic. That is why we have Category:Lacking non-English text.
  • Keeps article organized and doesn't have scripts all over the page
  • The inclusion of such allows, in a "Rosetta Stone"-like manner, one to know the native spelling and to search for websites and photos about the person on websites in the original language or (especially helpful in the absence of a comparable interwiki article in that language.
  • Many other articles have these type of script but that's not raising an eyebrow anywhere. For example, Aristotle, Plato display Greek script. Li Peng has chinese script (yes, several different scripts). There doesn't seem to be any problem with those articles.

Notes:

  • No problems with bengali and most state articles.
  • No problem with Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist articles.
  • Indian articles are being singled out. Other articles such as chinese, japanese, russian, arabic have their own scripts.
  • Korean articles use a nice infobox for their translations.
  • The purpose behind adding scripts is to help the user find relevant documentation. This should be kept in mind in deciding which scripts to add, and scripts shouldn't be added just because the subject is popular in that language.

Special cases:

  • the urdu problem the same as in part 1.--D-Boy 03:30, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Proposal 4: No use of vernacular scripts (except in special cases)[edit]

The vernacular scripts should be completely removed from the lead of the articles in English Wikipedia except in special cases (see Special cases and Notes).

Proposed by

Rationale:

  • Primary reason: Using native scripts for every article on the English-language Wikipedia doesn't serve any purpose.
  • Not useful for accurate/exact pronunciation, as IPA already serves the purpose (native scripts including Indic scripts are not completely scientific and do not help in exact pronunciation). Besides, most of the people do not understand these vernacular scripts.
  • It makes the intro looked cluttered (see for example, Rajnikanth).
  • It's difficult to define what a "native" script is. Is it the first language, the mother's language, the father's language, the official language of the state/nation from where the person hails (or place is situated), the language the person uses most (or for a place, the language spoken by majority of population), the language one identifies with/as a native speaker of, the language one is identified with/as a native speaker of by others, the language one knows best, the language associated with one's religion?
  • Usage of "relevant" scripts also results in Edit wars/disputes not only regarding which scripts are relevant, but also on what order the scripts should be written. When there are more than one relevant scripts, often the question arises which script is more relevant than the other? (see for example, history of Rajnikanth and Belgaum articles)
  • Leads to unnecessary edit wars and disputes between editors. For eg. see Talk:Vidya Balan#Urdu (Note: This is not the primary reason for opposing use of vernacular scripts -- the primary reason is that they are unnecessary)
  • Interlanguage links such as [[mr:आशा भोंसले]], [[fr:Asha Bhosle]], [[gu:આશા ભોંસલે]], [[hi:आशा भोंसले]] already serve the purpose of including vernacular scripts.

Notes:

  • This proposal is not against use of vernacular scripts for purposes such as quoting a written work in non-Roman scripts, lyrics (eg. Jana Gana Mana) and language alphabets (Hindustani orthography). It is against the use of vernacular scripts in intro of the article.

Special cases:

  • In some cases, such as Satyameva Jayate, use of vernacular scripts is useful. These cases can be decided by achieving consensus through discussions on the talk page of the relevant article.

* In general, non-roman scripts may be appropriate when the article title is non-English such is the case with, Satyameva Jayate, Jana Gana Mana, Advaita Vedanta, or Acharakkovai. - Parthi talk/contribs 01:57, 1 December 2006 (UTC)Parthi talk/contribs 05:13, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

  • When it can be verified that a person spells his/her name in a nonstandard manner in his/her native language, only then should the transliration in the native tongue be provided. Gamesmaster G-9 06:33, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Proposal 5: Almost no use of vernacular scripts and a strict guideline[edit]

I'm not an administrator or an editor or anything like that. But, since I have pondered much over this particular topic, I thought why not. Much of it comes from my own comments at the Pump.

The only relevant use of vernacular scripts may be associated with Mandarin. Romanization of all the nuances of the Mandarin script is beyond hope, even IPA falls short on that (at least the grasp of IPA for almost all the cases).

  • You may check this relevant discussion at the Pump (I hope to have some Manadrin-speaking Wikipedians to comment on this).

All other vernacular scripts, espacially in Indian or Arab bio articles may be removed. If there's a concern with variations in pronunciation one can make use of the Wiktionary and put in link on the article.

Rationale:

  • Vernacular scripts in India bio articles (as well as the Arab ones) may be completely pointless in the English version of WP, especially when IPA pronunciations are being provided (not always too precisely though, someone needs to check them).
  • If someone really cares about "people who like to look at names of notable people in vernacular scripts even if they can't read it" he/she should come forward and create an entry, at least a stub, on the subject in the version of WP in that script (there's one in Hindi, one in Arabic, so on and so forth).

Notes:

If those scripts are allowed to stay, there should be strict guidelines to keep out of trouble:

  • Use only the scripts that reflect the subject's ethnic origin, and may be the subject's language of operation (thus a Tamil poet writing in Urdu may have both scripts).
  • Keep these relevant scripts only if it implies an article in the WP written in that particular script (may be it should be linked to that other version WP as well, as a policy).
  • Religion and politics should be kept particularly out of consideration (I'd rather propose a ban on any bigot or zealot who presses those points, but that's only my personal opinion)

Special Cases:

  • Using Greek scripts on bios may be ruled out. It serves no purpose at all apart from the fact that some of the Wikipedians can spell Greek.
  • The Kalarippayattu infobox may be useful for a non-biographical subject restricted to use in a couple of scripts (like Kalari is an art limited to speaklers of 2/3 languages).

I hope I've been useful here. Thank you all. - Aditya Kabir 13:02, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Order of scripts (in case of use)[edit]

In case there are multiple scripts, what should be the order of the scripts?

  • Alphabetical
  • Based on relevance
    • Eg. in case of places, the language that is spoken most
    • in case of people, the language that the person is identified with (eg. in case of a writer)
  • Ethnicity

Misc[edit]

Devanagari[edit]

  • In case of articles such as Rashtrakuta should "Sanskrit/Maharashtri Prakrit/Marathi") be replaced by "Devanagari"?
No Devanagari is used for many languages.Specification of language is important.