Talk:German language

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Mistakable sentence[edit]

Quote from the section "Noun inflection": Inflection for case on the noun itself is required in the singular for strong masculine and neuter nouns in the genitive and sometimes in the dative. Both of these cases are losing ground to substitutes in informal speech. The dative ending is considered somewhat old-fashioned in many contexts and often dropped.

One must distinguish here between the wide-spread loss of the genitive case in informal speech and that of the dative ending. The genitive is not much used in colloquial German (des Mannes > von dem Mann), but there is no tendency to avoid the dative. Only the noun ending (dem Manne) is usually lost, but the dative as such is stable because the article retains its dative form.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19 October 2012‎

Bring this to featured article quality?[edit]

German isn't a language spoken only in the corners of the fringe of a very small nation. It is a remarkable language with a rich cultural heritage that is spoken by millions of people. It is a lingua franca throughout Europe. IMHO, it's a shame that it has just Class-C status. This article deserves more love, more edits.

And Wikipedia could do with another featured article :D


I don't think German is the only lingua franca in Europe. Danotto94 (talk) 09:50, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

German is well the lingua franca in Europe. English has advanced to the same level only in the last decades. Moreover German is spoken as a first language at least by 120 mil people, an not by 90 mil as asserted in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:09, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

"Varieties of German"[edit]

The usage and primary topic of Varieties of German is under discussion, see talk:German dialects -- (talk) 05:07, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

You should know that the mostly wide spoken German dialect in the world is English and not Bavarian. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Controversial dispute regarding general aspects regarding the categorisation of German languages and the {{infobox language}}[edit]

Please check the ongoing controversial discussion in Talk:Swiss_Standard_German#It_is_a_variety_of_Standard_German_.5Bcitation_needed.7Creason.3Dcontradicted_by_info_box.5D_.E2.80.93_Why.3F about general aspects regarding the categorisation of German languages and the {{infobox language}}! Thanks a lot! -- ZH8000 (talk) 19:05, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

infobox language/Infobox language family has a profound conceptual error?[edit]

The {{Infobox language}} and {{infobox language family}} tries to categorize language families, languages, dialects/varieties, regional/linguistical groups, historical languages. And fundamentally fails so in order to stay complaint with established linguistic concepts.

Keep in mind, the following categories are (somehow) orthogonal:

  • Language Family (Genealogy), e.g. West Germanic, of which german is a language (but itself not a language family!)
  • Linguistical categorization/grouping and subgrouping (within a language, obviously often equal to regional grouping), e.g. High German --> Upper German --> Alemannic --> Swiss German --> Zurich German
  • Periodisation (within a language, historical development!)
  • Variety of

But the language infobox mix them up and consequently produces confusion, and worse: contradictions.

A few use cases:

  • German language belongs to the West Germanic language family group. That's correct, but {{infobox language}} display it as Language Family: Indo-European --> Germanic --> West Germanic --> German, but it only should display Language Family: Indo-European --> Germanic --> West Germanic, since German is not a language family (but I could accept that single exception). However...
  • Swiss German is a group of dialects, which belongs to the German language, and therefore to the West Germanic family, so therefore the infobox should show: part of Language: German and Language Family: Indo-European --> Germanic --> West Germanic (that's redundant, since German belongs to this language family), and nothing more. The linguistical/regional grouping however should show: Linguistic classification: German --> High German --> Upper German --> Alemannic languages.
And the particular Zurich German would show then Linguistic classification: German --> High German --> Upper German --> Alemannic --> High Alemannic. And the historical "hierarchy" should show: Periodisation: Old High German --> Middle High German --> Early New High German --> New High German.
But (currently) Swiss German was classified as: Language Family: Indo-European --> Germanic --> West Germanic --> High German --> German --> Upper German --> Alemannic ... a mixture of rather orthogonal categories, IMO.
  • Standard German however is a standardized language, but is also part of the language German, of course, therefore: Language Family: Indo-European --> Germanic --> West Germanic and Language: German. Though major contributions were made during the era of 1650 - 1750/1800 by the High Franconian German (a linguistical/regional grouping), which belongs to the High German linguistical/regional group, you cannot really seriously claim that Standard German belongs to the: Linguistic classification: German --> High German --> High Franconian German (besides others), even though it is not totally wrong, neither (at least two centuries ago). And Periodisation: Old High German --> Middle High German --> Early New High German --> New High German.
  • Swiss Standard German would then be categorized the following: Language Family: Indo-European --> Germanic --> West Germanic and Language: German. Variety of: German --> Standard German

Please, this is only a very rough, preliminary approach by me in order to try to cicumvent some problems with the language infobox. And eventually, I just produce here WP:OR, I am very aware about it, but the current situation is not satisfiable, neither. – That's the way I so far understand the situation (I am no expert and do not claim it). TBF -- ZH8000 (talk) 22:35, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

I fear it would be extremely difficult to root out these simplistic language taxonomies, all with Wikipedia’s computer bias and with Wikipedia’s Google bias. Tree structures are omnipresent in computers and proper WP:SOURCES for linguistics consist mainly of paper and are hard to get on a computer.
An important source for the language taxonomies on Wikipedia might be On that webpage, you will find that the “Subclassification references” for West Germanic are Harbert (2007) and Stiles (2013). They must have used other sources for the subclassification, though. They use outlandish subclassifications such as Middle-Modern High German which does not occur in either source. On Wikipedia, we could easily trash something like that as WP:OR, but we are at loss when someone uses this as a source on Wikipedia. And of course, glottolog does exactly what Stiles (2013) warns of: “overstrict adherence to the ‘family tree’ model, and a monolithic approach that can only acknowledge clean divisions of an original unity – and insists that intermediate proto-languages also have to be uniform – is unrealistic and does not do justice to the data”.
Maybe instead of running against the windmills of the Wikipedia biases, it might be easier to replace the label “Language family” in the infobox by a slightly less utterly unacceptable “Classification” or “Taxonomy”? We should point out that putting the label “language family” on entities such as Swiss German is WP:OR. If someone claims that the is a WP:SOURCE for this labelling, we can easily show that there is no basis for it in the sources claims to be following, which means that disqualifies as a reputable source for this question.
BTW: I am not disputing that has its merits for the lesser known languages. It is only with regard to the well-known languages that its standards fall well below what is “broadly supported by scholarship” (see also WP:FRINGE). --mach 🙈🙉🙊 11:18, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
No-one ever claimed Swiss German is a language family, AFAICT, but I'd have no problem changing "family" to "classification" in the info box if you think that would be clearer. It should be proposed on the template talk page, though, rather than here.
Not sure if you're objecting the the branching of German on Glottolog, or to the name. They have said they could care less about names, which are just labels. There are odd branchings for chronolects, maybe due to the format of the trees. — kwami (talk) 02:14, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree that such a change should be discussed on Template talk:Infobox language. I want to hear ZH8000’s opinion first.
Glottolog not only uses strange names, but also strange branching. Why is there a node for Frankish, when there is already a node for High Franconian? Why is Palatinate not under the same node as Middle Franconian and Rhine Franconian? Why is there the rather sociolinguistical node for Swiss German, instead of dialectological nodes such as High Alemannic and Highest Alemannic?
Glottolog’s assignation of “dialects” and “languges” to the different nodes is even worse. Schleswig-Holstein Low German is not a direct descendant of the node West Germanic, but a Low German dialect. Old Low Franconian is certainly not a descendant of the node High Franconian, but of the node Low Franconian. Walser should either be a sibling to or a descendant of Wallis. The choice of Swiss German dialects is extremely unbalanced, with major dialects such as Zurich German and Bernese German missing while some very small dialects such as Obwalden German are included. I can only hope that the choice of dialects for other regions is more representative.
If such a sloppy classification were presented in a linguistics exam, you would certainly fail. The ethnologue classification is a bit less unacceptable, though it is not free of what Wikipedia considers to be WP:FRINGE. Due to the strange decision to make the ethnologue codes into an ISO standard (for valid concerns see ISO 639-3 § Criticism), we have now some outlandish codes such as gct or wae. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 09:53, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I will ba back in discussion soon (between today and three days). Thanks for "waiting"! Was absent for a while. -- ZH8000 (talk) 13:08, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Removal of bulk of minority status entries[edit]

On May 9, User:Moalli removed most entries in the infobox in the section "Recognised minority language in" with the justification that "none of the mentioned sources make any mention of the status of German". This is 1) simply not true, 2) surprising that no one contested the removal of so much content yet. I reviewed all the sources (as seen in the version from 01:10, 9 May 2015), and while the ones for Vatican City and Colonia Tolvar (Venezuela) are a bit fishy, the others clearly mention German and its legal status (being either legal texts or referring to such). Before I re-add the entries myself, I wanted to give anyone else here a few days to comment on that. --37ophiuchi (talk) 21:05, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

OK, one week has passed and I will revert User:Moalli's deletions now. --37ophiuchi (talk) 10:27, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi, sometimes I wonder if people read the references before adding them to the article. For South Africa for example, the court ruling precise that they want to preserve all minorities languages, and far before German, it is question of Urdu, Chinese, Greek, Indians dialects and other South African languages. And by the way how many people, newspapers and organisations are functioning in German in SA? A very few number of persons speaking German is not a justification to assert that German is a national language in this country. Same for Kazakstan, the article was about the last ethnic Germans in the country in the 90's, and their will to emigrate to Germany. In the same article, the author explain how it is difficult for the refugees to be assimilated, because their knowledge of German is very poor, and improvement in their language skills are being mandatory in order to succeed their emigration. We need to be factual and talk about countries where German is really used as an everyday idioma by a substantial part of the population. Otherwise, it would become ludicrous. The article has a lot of issues such as the possible confusion between the German diaspora in the USA and the German language. I tried to rectify the section, but still, I believe that most of it is not related to the subject. We are talking about people speaking german, and not about the ethnicity of the migrants. For those who are still making a confusion, one can have some German origins and not speaking a word of it. "This race for flags" in the article tend to deteriorate the quality of the subject.--Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 21:43, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, in this case simply reverting my edit was the clumsiest possible reaction. You used a club, where a scalpel was needed. While you might indeed be correct about the countries you mention, other cases like Slovakia, Brasil, Romania, Italy (Trentino) and Russia have been removed without justification. It is also interesting to note, that no one reacted when I started this talk topic. But when it comes to deleting/removing/reverting stuff, people are suddenly motivated. --37ophiuchi (talk) 22:40, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
If you checked the precedent versions, those elements were already deleted for the same reasons. For Italy, if you care, it is in the info box since the beginning. For Brasil, it is not pertinent, even the homepage of the community is in Portuguese. You are aware that during the dictatorship in the sixties, the government has conduct a harsh politic towards the minorities. There is not a German speaking community big and structured enough to be in the infobox. As for Romania, there is indeed an active German speaking community. For Russia, it is the same than for the Kazakstan, most of the Germans have emigrated to Germany especially during the 90's. Thank for your kind and constructive reply. --Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 00:28, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I am confused by your reasoning - do you accept a minority based on its (highly subjective) "activity", or based on an actually measurable legal basis, i.e., a given minority/auxiliary/cultural/national/regional language being concisely mentioned in a law pertaining to local/regional/language statuses? As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia must not list information, which cannot be "measured/verified/referenced". The "activity" of a minority is virtually impossible to ascertain precisely. Furthermore, which "activity" threshold would you suggest is sufficient to list a minority? 100 daily speakers? 1000 Weekly speaker? 10000 monthly speakers? I suggest we follow a strict method of only accepting an item in the minority/other status-list, if there is a clear mention of the language in question in a law text that forms the legal basis for the language. I therefore also propose to rename the section of the language-infobox from "Recognised minority language" to "Other legal statuses". Exceptions from such a rule should be kept at a minimum, but cannot be avoided (e.g., English and German only being the de facto, but not the de jure, official languages of the US and Germany, respectively). The only problem we might run into is that, in many cases, these legal text are only available in the country's official language, e.g. Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, Portuguese etc.. Since it may not always be possible to translate such immediate source texts, or because they mqay not always be available, I propose it should also be acceptable to cite a second hand source, such as a newspaper article or book specifically referencing a respective law/legal status. A reworked list for German could look as follows:

 Brazil (several municipalities in Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do Sul & Santa Catarina; as "Pomeranian" and "Hunsrückisch")[1][2]
 Czech Republic[2][3]
 Denmark (Syddanmark)[4][5]
 France (regional language in Alsace & Moselle)[2][6] (to be removed - regional language law will not be enacted for the time being)
 Italy (Trentino; as "Cimbrian" & "Mòcheno/Fersentalerisch")[9][10]
 Namibia (national language; official language 1984–90)[11][2]
 Poland (auxiliary language in several municipalities)[12][13]
 Russia[2][16][17] (to be removed - despite certain German language infrastructure, e.g., newspapers, kindergartens or clubs, no legal basis exists for German as a minority language --> situation comparable to German in the US/on Mallorca/etc.)
 Slovakia (official municipal language of Krahule/Blaufuß & Kunešov/Kuneschhau)[18][19]

  1. ^ Instituto de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Política Linguística - List of Brazilian municipalities with co-official languages, including Standard German as well as its dialects Hunsrückisch & Pomeranian
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ammon, Ulrich - Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt (de Gruyter Mouton; ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8)
  3. ^ Carolin Zwilling (European Academy Bolzano-Bozen, 2004) - Minority Protection and Language Policy in the Czech Republic
  4. ^ The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) - Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations of 1955: Notification concerning the general rights of the German minority
  5. ^ Die deutsche Minderheit in Dänemark - Sprache – Identität und Schlüssel (German). Letzter Zugriff am 3. Mai 2015
  6. ^ Euromosaic Report of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya - German in France
  7. ^ "Deutsche Botschaft Budapest - Die deutsche Minderheit in Ungarn". Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest - The national and ethnic minorities in Hungary
  9. ^ Autonomous Province of Trentino - Legislation pertaining to linguistic minorities
  10. ^ Sprachminderheiten in Italien - Autonome Region Trentino-Südtirol
  11. ^ "Deutsch in Namibia" (PDF) (in German). Supplement of the Allgemeine Zeitung. 18 August 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2008. 
  12. ^ "Map on page of Polish Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names" (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Council of Europe: European Charte of Regional- and Minority Languages - German in Poland
  14. ^ - Siebenbürger Sachsen
  15. ^ Die deutsche Sprache in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz
  16. ^ Russlanddeutsche – Geschichte und Gegenwart
  17. ^ Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Minderheiten - Russische Föderation
  18. ^ National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World. Willard, Ohio: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company. April 2006. pp. 257–299. ISBN 978-0-7922-3662-7. 
  19. ^ Úrad splnomocnenca vlády SR pre národnostné menšiny (The Government Council of the Slovak Republic for National Minorities and Ethnic Groups) - List of Slovakian municipalities with >20% minority population (2011)

ALL links work and either lead to a newspaper article/scientific study/etc. citing a legal basis for the status of German or directly to a legal text specifically mentioning German. --37ophiuchi (talk) 13:34, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Hi, I gonna be short, but don't think that I'am angry or whatsoever, I just want to be concise. As said earlier, no pb for Italy but only for Süd Tyrol, Cembro is not German and the article is not about dialect but standard German mainly. Otherwise, each language is gonna add the % of the patois and creole spoken around the globe. For Russia, the references are not on the list when you read them thoroughly. The references focus mainly on Poland and don't bring real tangible information for Russland. For France, the regional language status has not been ratified by France, (according to the EU directive) so besides some classes of Alsacian tought in few primary school and some bilingual signs in front of some cities, it can't be an example. And we don't like to be considered as German speakers, and in the reality fewer are using it. Furthermore, we are speaking Alsacian which is at least for us, very distinct from German. Strassburg vs Strósburí for example. And for historical reason we are keen to keep our distances (on the language) with the German language. At last, regarding the latest survey about the alsacian language, 3% of the population between 3 to 17 years old only know it. (74% des 60 ans et plus ; 54% des 45-59 ans 24% des 30-44 ans 12% des 18-29 ans 3% des 3-17 have a knowledge of German link With big differences in the real knowledge and the possibility to have a real conversation. And for the links for German in France given above, none of them are directing to real sources of informations. They are either closed (geocities) or the sources are sometimes partial, even worse. For South America, it is too disparate to be taken into account. I have the chance to understand most of the Latin ang Germanic based languages, (my parents were both speaking a Germanic and a Latin dialect as a mother tongue (Alsacian and Catalan. Anyway, when I read the local laws voted in the municipalities of Brasil and others south American bourg, most of the time, it is a "false recognition" they say just that they recognise the idioma as part of the heritage of the city, without further precision... If we follow this trend then, almost all the major European countries (for language spread) such as England, France or Spain for example can put the flag of the whole world on their own article. For Romania, Slovakia and Poland, I do agree with you, there are small communities, are officially recognised, they can work, interact and correspond with their administration (At least the local administration in German). Same for Namibia. For Danemark I know that the question have political issues, but I won't make any comment, I'm not really aware of the situation to give you my point of view. Your last question is very interesting, "what is the threshold" I don't have the answer, but I would tell you, that the main facts that need to be taken in account, are a certain number of everyday locutors, a community that uses the language in its everyday life, and can use it as work language, and use it with their administration. The small German speaking community of Belgium (1% of the total population) is for me the perfect example, or Trent/Trentino in Italy. I hope that my answer would be useful and constructive. At least I try to find a way to improve the article with my fellows contributors. And those discussion are a real opportunity to share our opinions in a constructive manner 😋--Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 23:10, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
You are, again, "citing" personal opinions and viewpoints as a reference. Any personal or historical bitterness towards Swiss/Germans/Austrians etc. must not play any role in this list. Granted, the reference link to the Euromosaic-page discussing German in France falsely dropped you off on the main page of the website (I've corrected the link), but I would like to see a proof wrt the status of the regional language law in France actually being null and void (nevermind, just found it... France can be proud of itself - fortunately my French friends are predominantly from the Bretagne, they have a different view ;) ). The references listed for Russia do not pertain to Poland at all, you must have clicked the wrong link. However, after reading through more material concerning German in Russia, I am tentatively agreeing that there is no legal basis for the German language in the Russian Federation (German language newspaper/schools/kindergartens are not enough - otherwise the US or Spain would have to be listed, too). All but one link to the Polish Ministry for Interior Affairs work fine for me (I've replaced the link). Which one(s) did not work for you? Moreover, I am going to have the Brazilian PDF translated by a Brazilian friend of mine (will happen in a few days). As for the other Brazilian reference: It is a Deutsche Welle (international German broadcasting/news service) article on the usage of Riograndenser Hunsrückisch and other German dialects in southern Brazil. It specifically states that there are an estimated 1 million bilingual (German-Portuguese) people in the area. Aside from that, your insistence on the actual number of speakers of a minority language is un-encyclopedic, as it is, a non-tangible number in most cases. Even you yourself cannot come up with a threshold above which a status may be counted. It has to come down to hard facts - in an encyclopedia this means tangible references, which do NOT reflect a personal opinion or a subjective impression. Furthermore, Cimbrian is a Bavarian dialect. Just like Luxemburgish, Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, Kölsch, Berlinerisch, Saxonian, Alsatian or Swiss German (but NOT Dutch or Frisian, for instance), it may have its own ISO-code and even a written form (like many German dialects), but it is a variety of German. For political/cultural reasons, a dialect or subvariety is sometimes called "language" (e.g., Luxemburgish (Mosel-Franconian) <-> German or Moldavian <-> Romanian or Brazilian <-> Portuguese). As this article pertains to the German language (including its subvarieties) and not just Standard German (separate article), Cimbrian should be listed! And what do you mean with the German-speaking Community in Belgium being the perfect example? For what? For a deserved or an undeserved listing in the infobox? And what political issues in Denmark are you hinting at? Anyways... I feel I am repeating myself here. We might need more neutral contributors willing to chime in to this exchange. --37ophiuchi (talk) 23:33, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
This is really boring, in a nutshell you are saying that most of your links were not functioning. The regional status is like I said not recognized in France and Russia (thanks to the article that you brought, saying that the French president wants to create a law to make it legal). So, until the law is created and voted, which is not the case, what I said was right. If something is already recognized no one need to create a law to legalise it.... For Belgium I stated that is was a perfect example of a recognized language that is fully functioning despite the smal number of locutors (in proportion of the total population). So the number is definitely not an issue for me. If you have a doubt on the interpretation, you give me strange intention. And I read my precedent post, and I'm still looking for what you call "Any personal or historical bitterness towards Swiss/Germans/Austrians etc. must not play any role in this list " it happens furthermore that my best friends are Swiss, but nevermind. For Danemark I was referring at the harsh talk following the new border after the First world war concerning the Schleswig, (Danish is by the way a minority language officially recognised by the German state). According to you the entire world should be in the infobox, from Russia to Tierra de Fuego via Mallorca. But some things are weird like the number of Riograndenser Hunsrückisch locutors, where the source for the amount of locutors in the Wikipediaückisch_German article is... Wikipedia, "strengthened" by the ISO request as a second source, the same ISO that bases the number of locutors using Wikipedia number: This is at least disturbing, some would use other terms for that. And to close the debate, I think that you have issues to distinct regional languages and standard German. But you are definitley right on one point, more neutral contributors are needed. --Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 14:32, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Communication with you is absolutely inefficient and pointless. You put things in my mouth and selectively ignore others. I will therefore stop participating in this "exchange". I will implement the above list (minus Russia and France). Every single entry is well referenced with working links now (as you can see for yourself). --37ophiuchi (talk) 15:08, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Just because I am a vibrant Wikipedian, I will take the time and reflect on your last post:
  • I said: All but one link to the Polish Ministry for Interior Affairs work fine for me (I've replaced the link).
    • You responded: "This is really boring, in a nutshell you are saying that most of your links were not functioning. " - No more need to comment on that...
  • You had said: "And for historical reason we are keen to keep our distances (on the language) with the German language."
    • Which is why I responded: Any personal or historical bitterness towards Swiss/Germans/Austrians etc. must not play any role in this list.
  • You said: "For Belgium I stated that is was a perfect example of a recognized language that is fully functioning despite the smal number of locutors (in proportion of the total population). So the number is definitely not an issue for me."
    • Fact is: While it is just 1% of the population, ca. 76,000 people live in the German-speaking Community of Belgium. That is just ~20% less than the population of the Seychelles, or more than ~50% of the population of Aosta Valley (both counted as French-speaking communities). If that 1% would be spread evenly all over Belgium, a real language region would not be existing, however, the Community forms a closed area along the east Belgian border. Likewise there are ~1-2 million German-speakers (L1+L2) in the US, even more in Russia, ~3 million Turkish-speakers in Germany, and more than 30,000 Germans on Mallorca; yet they are relatively dispersed, and their respective language have no minority/official statuses (although they have newspapers, radio channels, kindergartens, clubs etc etc etc). Numbers, whether they -appear- small or large have little implication, yet you keep bringing them up as an all-defining landmark for (minority) languages.
  • You said: "According to you the entire world should be in the infobox, from Russia to Tierra de Fuego via Mallorca"
    • I hereby respond: Absolutely ridiculous. See my previous remark (concerning my mention of Mallorca as an example). Likewise I could blatantly accuse you of trying to downgrade the German language wherever possible, ignoring and selecting sources as you see fit. But I don't (accuse you).
  • You said: "But some things are weird like the number of Riograndenser Hunsrückisch locutors, where the source for the amount of locutors in the Wikipediaückisch_German article is... Wikipedia[...]"
    • I hereby say: This Deutsche Welle article cites the number of ~1 million bilingual people. Before I replaced it with a better, clearer source, this link was also cited as a reference in the list above.
  • You said: "And to close the debate, I think that you have issues to distinct regional languages and standard German."
    • I hereby say: Hunsrückisch, Mòcheno (Fersentalerisch), Cimbrian, Pomeranian, Namibian German (Südwesterdeutsch) - These are ALL German sub-varieties, also called "dialects". They do, in certain contexts, have a standardized written form, as have Bavarian, Saxonian, Wienerisch etc.. Neither of these are "Standard German", but they are dialects of the German language. Of course the transition between a dialect and a (related) language is blurry. Dutch and Frisian, for example, are counted as fully separate (but closely related) languages wrt German, just like Catalan is closely related to Castilian Spanish, but forms a distinct language.

--37ophiuchi (talk) 17:42, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Very well 37ophiuchi, indeed that was very interesting. Just to be concise: concerning Belgium that seems to be a situation to you need to talk about again, eventhough we don't have any disagreement concerning the legality and legitimacy of the Belgium German speaking minority: when I write a "small number compared to the total population", all is said! with the proper term precisely chosen not to undermine the importance of the amount of speakers. No need to make a speech about all the others speaking minorities in Europe. Once again: COMPARED TO THE TOTAL POPULATION (1% and we even agree on the number, unbelievable ❤️). For the distance to keep is between alemanic speakers and German speakers indeed (My Mámama never stanced someone saying that her Alsatian was like German). Hope it will close the subject unless you want to argue with her too. And finally for the "Riograndenser_Hunsrückisch_German" that came from six to one million speakers in only one hour, after I checked the ludicrous of the references. Up to now, no one really cared to have a look on the sources nor the seriousness of the references just for the respect of the dialect itself that deserves an article with real reference. For the Danish issue, I did not get any feedback, you were questioning this choice as an example. But maybe you did'nt know the history of the Schleswig region. And for Mallorca, that was a private joke, can someone really even think about putting German as a recognised speaking minorities in the Catalan Island? Well it looks like some studies the eventuality ;0) I was amused that you even think of that. So finally, no one can take what is in Wikipedia for granted and always be careful by reading the references and theirs sources. Tschüss --Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 20:49, 21 June 2015 (UTC) Ps: the conversation is at its end, I'm sure others will come up with better discussion issues.

Allow me to respond one last time. Mallorca: I ONLY used it as an example for a region with language facilities in German (newspapers, radio channels, clubs), but with absolutely NO reason/motivation/basis to give German any legal status. I therefore compared it to the US, and to a certain degree to Russia (both with similar facilities, but no legal recognition of German). Furthermore, I am very well aware of (northern) Schleswig's history and current status. While I am sure one would always be able to dig out some nutjobs on either side of the border with some grudge against the other side, historical pain/distrust/accusations/debts play no role in the current situation anymore, and the respective minorities on both sides are well integrated and respected. As for Hunsrückisch in Brazil: I never claimed it to have 6 million speakers. In fact, that Deutsche Welle article was the first time I actually read a figure of (bilingual) speakers... whoever came up with the 6 million or changed that on the respective article... wasn't me. Finally, I admit that I might not have been reading one or two references (wrt to Russia) carefully enough at the beginning. Likewise, you should put more attention on reading what people are actually writing, too ;) Salut und Tschüs. --37ophiuchi (talk) 21:24, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
-37ophiuchi You really think that inserting in the infobox the two villages in Slovakia is pertinent? We are talking of minorities speakers in two villages, one counting total 198 and the second village 248 souls, and the amount of speakers is about 20%, so 89 speakers total!! So for the last time, is it an article about the German language or a race for flags?? This time I'm out.--Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 21:47, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree, I guess. While those are the two municipalities with >20% German minority, the German language is recognized and supported as a minority language by the central government (along with Ruthenian/Ukrainian, Hungarian and Roma). I added respective sources and removed the listing of the two individual towns. --37ophiuchi (talk) 22:35, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I understand your motivation, we have a different views of what the infobox should show. I just fear that by those flags, even though what you say is right and true, that could mislead many people that don't take the time to really read all the details.--Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 00:00, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Which is, amongst others, the reason why I've suggested the sub-section "Recognised minority language in" to be renamed "Other legal statuses" - because that is, what it is; without too much of an implication wrt how widespread the language is or not. Such a changed name might also deter some people from adding Saarland to the French infobox or the US/Russia/Mallroca to the German one (language facilities: yes; legal status, other than maybe a mention as "cultural heritage" etc: no). Well, in a perfect world... --37ophiuchi (talk) 12:22, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi, sorry for being absent for a while but it's good to see that this issue has been mostly resolved. While the sources have been fixed and are reliable I have a question regarding the official status of German dialects on the infobox versus the status of standard German. Are all forms of German and their official statuses going to be included in this article? In my opinion, since this article focuses largely on standard German (Hochdeutsch) rather than the separate dialects (which each have their own articles), the recognized minority statuses for the dialects should be placed in their respective articles rather than in this page. In countries where German is official, Standard German is the official form and the standard is recognized as a minority language in Namibia, the Czech Republic, parts of Denmark and Poland, and Hungary. However, regarding the recognized dialects in Brazil and Italy, their statuses should be moved to their respective articles so as not to confuse readers who will automatically assume standard German while skimming through. This is not an intention to diminish the importance of German whatsoever but rather to be specific in the article instead of a stack of flags. Perhaps the dialects' status can be mentioned in the dialects subsection instead? --Moalli (talk) 22:26, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
This was discussed at large (at a different place). There is a separate article Standard German. German language pertains to the Standard language (Dachsprache), as well as all of its dialects without standardized written forms (e.g., Saxonian, Bavarian, Wienerisch, various Swiss German dialects), and such that have a written form ("standardized (sub-)varieties"; e.g., Luxembourgish). Compare this guideline to articles on the Chinese or Arabic (macro-)languages. While German is not a "macro-language" (as far as I know), the general article structure could serve as a role model. Maybe the Serbo-Croatian language and its article structure on Wikipedia is also comparable in being a "pluri-centric language". Lastly, even if we remove any minority/co-official statuses specifically pertaining to a German dialect, and not just "German", ONLY the Italian (Trentino) flag would go (Brazil has one city with "German" as co-official language, 4 each for "Pomeranian" and "Hunsrückisch"). --37ophiuchi (talk) 20:00, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Number of L1 and L2 speakers[edit]

As there are recurring edit wars ensuing over the number of L1 and L2 speakers of German (including its dialects), I would like to start a discussion about it. The goal is to reach a reliable consensus based on scientific (books/peer-reviewed articles from linguists - i.e., NOT claims from private websites) source material. Ideally, such a collection of credible, scientific sources can then be ported over to the other Wikis (I would gladly add it to the German language Wiki). I make the beginning, by analyzing the sources we cite right now:

  • Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2010" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2010), in Nationalencyklopedin
    • Cited number of speakers - L1: ?; L2: ?
    • I cannot assess the credibility of this source. While it appears to be an acknowledged Swedish language encyclopedia, the respective entry for the German language stating the number of speakers should refer to a source itself. We need verification, also wrt what number is actually given.
  • German language at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000) [link]
    • Cited number of speakers - L1: 100 million; L2: 28 million
    • Outdated (data from 1990 and 1999) and not citing any scientific sources. I encountered some cases (example), where the Ethnologue has been cited incorrectly ("128 INCLUDING L2 speaker" (L1+L2) was misconstrued to "228 million speakers total" (L1+(L1+L2)).
  • Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Standard German". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
    • Cited number of speakers - L1: ?; L2: ?
    • This source does not cite any speakers number. Furthermore, I think it is responsible for that bizarre statement "L2 speakers: 28 million of the prestige variety of High Franconian (1999), including speakers of other varieties of German". Prestige High Franconian variety? If I had to guess, I'd say this tries to refer to all Upper German dialects. Still, this statement makes absolutely no sense here!

Other sources:

  • Ammon, Ulrich - Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt (de Gruyter Mouton; ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8)
    • Cited number of speakers - L1: 104 million; L2: ?
    • Very comprehensive and up-to-date book written by a known linguist. I do not own the full version and therefore have no access to the sections assessing the number of L2 speakers. Anyone with the full book?
  • Worldwide survey of people learning German; conducted by the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Goethe Institute
    • Cited number of speakers - L1: [not part of study]; L2: ? (15.4 million are -currently learning- German)
    • Reliable, comprehensive survey. While it does not attempt to assess the number of L2 speakers, it delivers a credible result of people in the world, who are currently in the process of gaining L2 skills.
  • Ethnologue - Standard German
    • Cited number of speakers - L1: 78 million; L2: ?
    • Most-cited "source" on the web, but an utterly illogical source. For Chinese and Arabic all dialects/sub-varieties are combined. However, for German only "Standard German" (excluding anything with a different ISO-code such as Swiss German, Hunsrückisch, Luxemburgish, and even Kölsch/Cologne dialect) is counted. Bilingual people (i.e., L1-speakers), e.g., German-Turkish, are apparently excluded as well (hence the 78 million, which is less than the population of Germany alone, not to mention Austria). The result is a completely unrepresentative number without any clarification as to how they came up with it (in some cases censuses are cited, in most cases there are no references at all).
  • Eurobarometer Survey 2012 by the European Commission
    • Cited number of speakers - L1: [not part of study]; L2: ~47 million in EU-27 (11% of respondents (age 15+) claim to be able to communicate in German as a foreign language)
    • Representative (26.751 respondents > 0.005% of 425 million EU-citizens older than 15 years) and comprehensive survey, albeit limited to the EU27 (i.e., current EU minus Croatia). Could at least be considered a minimum number for the entire world.
  • I suggest we also consider at least one source for L1 numbers not authored by a German speaker in order to represent an "outside" assessment.

-- 37ophiuchi (talk) 12:47, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

just a question, what the heck is the super German language called Franconian and that seems to be the master of all German language... And what is the issue with the number? Is it included or not in the total? How can someone decide that a dialect is superior to another one? And personally I'm glad to see that people come up to talk about the number of speaker instead of engaging in an edit war. Tschüss--Gabriel Haute Maurienne (talk) 14:01, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Exactly. I have NO idea what the statement about a "Prestige Franconian dialect bla bla" is supposed to mean. It might very well be nothing but a joke someone felt necessary to make (i.e. vandalism). That, or a bad misinterpretation of the info presented on (see my source-list above). Anyways, it should be removed along with a potential update of the number of speakers. I also feel that the entire article should be semi-protected, so only registered users can edit it. --37ophiuchi (talk) 14:16, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I just removed that odd bit of information and contacted the editor who inserted it (long-time user). We'll see... --37ophiuchi (talk) 17:01, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Anyone with suggestions? As the article stands right now, for L1 speakers we have one non-verifiable source (Swedish print-encyclopedia), and one that does not mention speaker numbers at all (Glottolog)... For L2 speakers, we have a source that simply cannot be right: 28 million L2 speakers (Ethnologue) - as 15.4 million are already learning German world-wide right now (this number remained stable for ~10 years according to the very thorough surveys by the German Foreign Ministry/Goethe Institute), 28 million L2 speakers seems unbelievably low. Ethnologue, which does barely cite any sources itself, is also contradicting the EU-Commission Eurobarometer poll, which, twice in a row (2007 & 2012), came to nearly the same result of ~47 million L2 speakers in the EU-27 alone. --37ophiuchi (talk) 23:21, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I changed the wording per discussion on my talk page. The problem is that the number of L2 speakers is not for the same language as the number of native speakers, so they are not directly comparable.
Parkvall is well respected. He's also verifiable: all you have to do is read the encyclopedia article he wrote. (The fact that you might not have access to it is irrelevant. WP:verifiability.) The source is Parkvall himself: he calculates his figures from censuses and surveys, and adjusts for population growth so the various languages are comparable (e.g., all estimates are for 2010, not some for 2010 and others for 1980). I just came across a mainstream encyclopedia of languages (forget which) that uses him for their appendix of population stats.
Ammon looks like he might also be a good source. Of course, we will need the date of the estimate. The problem with choosing individual sources for different languages is that people tend to cherry-pick to give their language as many speakers as possible, leading to some rather egregious population inflation. But together we can probably evaluate Ammon for credibility.
The number of L2 speakers has little to do with the number of people learning German, so stats on the latter are irrelevant. L2 speakers are people who speak German as one of their languages on a close to daily basis, not people who have a German phrase book for doing business in Frankfurt. — kwami (talk) 00:40, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I did not say Parkvall is not verifiable, but merely that I am not able to assess its credibility, since I do not have access to the book(s) (see my above statement). So, Parkvall does give 90 million for L1? Does he give any L2 number at all? I am also a bit confused by the definition of L2 speakers. The wiki article seems to be contradicting itself within the opening sentences. So, I learned English in school, and acquired an acceptable proficiency in it. Am I an L2 speaker? If not, then several wiki articles on languages might actually be confusing this term with "foreign language"... If we cannot find a reliable number for this, we should not mention it all, but merely L1 speakers and "as foreign language" (like it is done on English language, for instance). According to Eurobarometer, ~47 million in the EU-27 claim to be "able to have a conversation" in German. Ethnologue 2009 gives 90 million L1 and 28 million L2, HOWEVER, it has a rather incomplete list of countries with sizable German-speaking communities (Namibia, Russia, Brazil are missing), nor count Swiss German (whose written form is Standard German) or Luxembourgish; BUT it does, for example, count Danube swabian (spoken by the minority in Hungary). This is very arbitrary (exemplified in the fact, that according to Ethnologue, German speakers dropped from 100 to 90 million between 2000 and 2009; but not because there was a mass-extinction, but because they suddenly changed the communities, e.g., Swiss German, they wish to include in the count). Anyways, we went over this already, the article on German language should include dialects as well as standardized (sub-)varieties (maybe comparable to the articles on the Arabic, Chinese, Serbo-Croatian, or English (macro-)languages). Early next week, I will go to the library and have a look at Ammon (2014). We'll see what he has to say about it. --37ophiuchi (talk) 18:40, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Parkvall has 89M for 2010. We rounded off for this article. But you're correct that he doesn't define what "German" is. Does Ammon? — kwami (talk) 21:40, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I shall see in a few days in the library. Right now, at 104 million L1, my guess is that he includes standardized and non-standardized varieties (Luxembourgish, Swiss German dialects, etc.).--37ophiuchi (talk) 04:18, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Ammon (2014)[edit]

OK, after I've been to the library the day before yesterday to get a look at Ammon (2014), I can present the following information:

  • Ammon employs a simple yet efficient way to distinguish between dialects/standardized varieties and separate languages: The standardized written form has to be intelligible to a German speaker (i.e., sufficiently close to German/Austrian/Swiss Standard German). If there is no standardized written form, it is automatically still beneath the Dachsprache German and therefore not a separate language. According to this he determined the following:
    • Luxembourgish is not a German dialect anymore. It evolved into a separate, yet very closely related, language. It has a separate regulatory body, and both its standardized written and spoken forms are intelligible only to a very limited degree for a Standard German speaker (comparable to Plattdeutsch/Low German). In fact, over the past decades, Luxembourgish already started show signs of dialect-formation of its own.
    • Lacking a fully standardized written form, regulatory body and/or due to a good retained intelligibility, Standard Swiss German as well as all Swiss German dialects, Alsacian, the Lorraine-dialects, Pomeranian, Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, Mennonite Plautdietsch (NOT Plattdeutsch/Low German), etc. are all dialects/varieties of the German language, i.e., they are still below the Dachsprache German.
  • L1: Ammon does, in fact, reference Ethnologue (2009), however he criticizes its "glottonomy", i.e., the tendency to over-differentiate certain languages like German, while combining others like Chinese and Arabic. He therefore combined all German varieties listed as separated "languages" (without the ~400,000 Luxembourgish speakers), which adds up to ~90 million L1 speakers (compare to ~89M given by Parkvall).
    • In addition to that he did his own research. Based on representative surveys and population statistics, he estimated the number of mother tongue speakers of German BUT only within those countries that have it as an official language:
      • D (74.43M) + A (7,45M) + CH (5.16M) + South Tyrol (324,000) + B (73,000) + FL (36,000) + LU (20,000) = 87.49M (L1 just within German-speaking countries); the ~2.5M difference to Ethnologue (2009) might easily be accounted by leaving out the rest of the world (Brazil, Russia, US - bilinguals theoretically count as L1, too, but assessing their proficiency and quantity is impossible).
      • In order to estimate the number of speakers outside the "German-speaking" countries/dependencies, he combined many sources, including (but not limited to) Ethnologue data from the 1980s until 2009. Ammon then formed the median of the given numbers. His result was 7.49M "German speakers" outside the afore mentioned countries (i.e., mainly in the US, France, Romania, Brazil, Hungary, Russia, etc.). HOWEVER, it is not possible to differentiate between L1 and L2 speakers. While nearly all of these people are likely to be bilingual, the individual proficiency determined by their upbringing and environment could place them within L1 or L2. Nevertheless, "ordinary" bilingualism implies two L1-languages, therefore the conservative approach is to add these 7.49M to the 87.49M L1 in the German-speaking countries = 94.98M (L1 worldwide).
  • L2: The feasibility of L2 estimates is similarly limited. Ammon gave a minimum number of L2 speakers (just in Europe) by assuming almost all (minus a few percentiles based on survey data) non native German speakers in a country/dependency with German as an official languages to be L2 speakers
    • D (6.67M) + A (~780,000) + CH (395,000) + LU (395,000; i.e., all Luxembourgish speakers) + South Tyrol (114,000) = 8.51M (L2 just within German-speaking countries); no data for B and FL was available, but that combined number is likely to be below 2-3,000. However... again, this data JUST pertains to the mentioned countries. Assessing "true L2" speakers outside of Europe is impossible. The Ethnologue estimate of 28M L2 speakers worldwide likely results from (erroneously) counting Swiss Germans as well as all non-European potential L1 speakers as L2. However, as L2 mostly implies speaking German as a 2nd language within a German-speaking environment, non-European L2 speakers should be scarce and better counted as L1. However, even with 5 million Swiss German speakers and 7.5 outside the German-speaking countries, that would still leave 15.5 million (28 - 5 - 7.5 = 15.5) worldwide German L2 speakers of Ethnologue unaccounted for... These might be the L2 speakers OUTSIDE of German-speaking countries, which Ammon was not able to estimate/did not try to estimate, although this seems like a high number.
  • As a foreign language: Ammon based his estimate on people capable of "speaking" (i.e., conversing in) German as a foreign language worldwide on the recurring surveys of German learners by the Goethe institute/German Foreign Ministry (relatively stable at 17M +/- 3M over the past ~30 years). In order to extrapolate the number of actual German speakers from the number of learners in a given year, he assumed an average duration of three years for a German course/class (average language course duration according to UN statistics). Combining this with life expectancies in the respective countries led Ammon to 50-145M (assuming ~20% or ~50% of people learning German actually ending up being able to converse) speakers of German as a foreign language worldwide in 2014. The Eurobarometer 2012 survey found that ~47M speak German as a foreign language in the EU-27 alone. According to the Goethe institute/German Foreign Ministry, there were ~9.4M German learners in the EU in 2014, which would give a speaker/learner ratio of exactly 5. applying this to the 15.4M worldwide learners in 2012 results in exactly 77M, which would lie within Ammon's (2014) estimates. I therefore suggest 75-100M as representative number of worldwide speakers of German as a foreign language.

I'll redesign the infobox in my sandbox and let you know as soon as I'm done. --37ophiuchi (talk) 11:35, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

There you go. I've edited the speakers-subsection accordingly. The 10-25 million L2 speakers is disputable of course (see above elaborations). 10M (8.51 rounded to next 5M) is from Ammon (2014), but JUST for the German-speaking countries. Ethnologue gives ~28M (rounded down to 25) worldwide. Taking English language and Portuguese language as a reference , I've also re-formatted the country-lists (e.g., outsourcing the references to the linked article, where Russia and Ukraine have a water-proof source). Lastly, I've also removed Luxembourgish (separate language) from the ISO-list. --37ophiuchi (talk) 13:32, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I take no response as positive feedback. If no one would like to comment on this, I am going to implement the updated infobox soon. --37ophiuchi (talk) 10:55, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
The numbers seem pretty plausible to me.Ernio48 (talk) 12:26, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
Ok, I am going to implement the updated/streamlined infobox now. --37ophiuchi (talk) 10:50, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I find it worrying that Ammon bases his numbers on Ethnologue. SIL has recently replaced much of their European data, as it was largely inaccurate: since they do not do missionary work in Europe, European languages are not historically of much interest. We should probably list both Ammon and Parkval. Also, if Swiss is German, then so is Lux, per multiple sources. — kwami (talk) 04:50, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for editing the article BEFORE consulting the talk page :( Which source call Swiss German not part of the German Dachsprache? Show me. Per definition (same orthography) Swiss German is "German". Luxembourgish may be a contested case, but by the definition of a Dachsprache (separate regulatory body? same orthography?) it is cut loose from the German language. Furthermore: The formatting of the "speakers" entry is EXACTLY like on English language (with L1, L2, and foreign language). Why do we have to start an edit war on this again?! With the snap of a finger and ONE LINE you want to dismantle all my elaborations here on the talk page? You just call one source more reliable than another and topple over pages of analyses and elaborations. Show me how Parkvall came up with his numbers and demonstrate how he is a shred more convincing/reliable than Ammon or Ethnologue. --37ophiuchi (talk) 14:39, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
If Parkvall's good enough for the encyclopedias mentioned above, he's good enough for us. His are the most careful estimates for the world's languages. I'm surprised you think Ethnologue is a reliable source. It's not, at least not for European languages. This has been discussed elsewhere. As for learners, that was your own calculation, and so OR. As for Lux, it's just as close as Swiss per the sources chosen by Glottolog -- and the principal editor of Glottolog is a native German-speaker. We might want to change the scope of this article, to have a sociolinguistic rather than cladistic definition of German, but it's up to you to convince us that we should. — kwami (talk) 17:47, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, but I am a German native speaker, too. Anyone can simply claim different degrees of relation between two dialects or languages. I forgot the author (I think he was Scandinavian), but I once read the very fitting phrase "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy" ;-P While this is, of course, meant as provocative sarcasm, it is a reminder of how political, and less linguistic, the discussions about dialects/languages often are. In all terms of linguistic parameters Swiss German is NOT a separate language. It is a spectrum of various High Allemanic dialects (some of which share only limited intelligibility among themselves). Swiss Standard German is 99.9% the same as German or Austrian Standard German (e.g., the Swiss do not use the ß), and there is no separate regulatory body standardizing the Swiss dialects. The intelligibility of some dialects to a pure Standard version-speaker is a secondary parameter. Likewise you could call half of the population of Germany or Italy etc. German/Italian L2-speakers at best. I have tried to touch on this very matter in the introductory text of German language. I'd be happy to expand it by 2-3 lines, to make clear, that German dialects may sometimes have a limited intelligibility when compared to the standard language. English native speakers often get confused by that, since the English language mostly lacks such an intense degree of dialectal variation. Ethnologue may or may not be a reliable source (e.g., it combines several languages to a "Chinese language" OR in older edition Swiss German used to be counted as German and then it changed without a reason), however, it also does nothing but citing external sources. So when Ammon cites Ethnologue, he cites those external sources (which are various). And he himself points out the errors of Ethnologue by saying that they overestimate the number of L2 speakers in Germany, and underestimate the number if L1 speakers. When it comes to absolute speaker numbers of a language worldwide, the are most likely NO accurate sources. So all we can do is combine sources and rely on scientific analyses of such (e.g., Ammon). Our agreement with such elaborations, or the lack thereof, is a personal opinion. Glottolog, Ethnologue, linguists like Ammon... as they are no worldwide, reliable statistics on language use, all these sources can do is estimate based on a combination of sources, including population statistics, surveys etc.. I might just as well justify my preference of Ammon (2014) with it being a more recent source than Parkvall (2010). While I can understand the general notion of preferring the most cautious sources (e.g., Parkvall), all the articles on major languages should be adapted in such a scenario. So far, the only other major languages citing Parkvall for speaker numbers are Portuguese language and Mandarin language. Nevertheless, it is an absolutely unfounded statement to claim "more cautious" sources to be more reliable. After all, Parkvall might have used Ethnologue as well. So far, no one could demonstrate how Parkvall came up with his numbers; we don't even know whether he included cases like Plautdietsch or Swiss German, or excluded Luxembourgish. --37ophiuchi (talk) 18:37, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Ok, I've added two more explanatory lines about German dialects to the introduction of the article. Absent any response, I'd suggest we revert the changes to the infobox. --37ophiuchi (talk) 14:55, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, Kwami, you've certainly proven your unparalleled skills at reverting other people's edit without proper justification (see article Standard German). Care to do something constructive for a change? Like properly elaborating on your practices? --37ophiuchi (talk) 20:18, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
The justification is that your sources are for a different topic than your edits, and therefor inappropriate. There was a discussion, which you apparently didn't read, as to whether Standard German has any native speakers. There are some refs that it does, but none give a number. SIL [deu] is just "German", not the standard language. And Swiss German certainly isn't the same thing as Swiss Standard German -- as a native speaker, you should know the difference. — kwami (talk) 20:27, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
I am very well aware of the difference. As already mentioned elsewhere, "Standard German" is more of an orthographic system than it is a "dialect". Therefore the term "speakers" might not be applicable at all; if anything "writers/users" might be more fitting, though confusing and unnecessary imo. German-speaking Swiss could be counted as "users" within such a frame of reference. --37ophiuchi (talk) 14:29, 18 July 2015 (UTC)
But the figures aren't for users, but for native speakers. Native speakers of Swiss German (the figure cited by Ethnologue) are not native speakers of Standard German (where you placed the Ethnologue figure) unless they're natively bilingual, which is not supported by the source. — kwami (talk) 02:30, 19 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree. ~100% of Switzerland, ~90% of Austria and Germany etc. (just for the sake of illustration) speak German and WRITE Standard German, but they do not speak Standard German in a strict, clearly definable sense. I was simply not aware of the fact the Ethnologue's "German, Standard" means something different from our "Standard German". I should have noticed, but I never paid sufficiently close attention to it. Anyway, the matter about the infobox of German language is still open. I would like to adapt the exact formatting for the speakers subsection that is also used on English language. Ideally I'd like to convert all major languages to this format (L1: XY; L2: YX; as a foreign language: XX). I think it aids the user in getting quick information without overburdening the infobox. --37ophiuchi (talk) 09:16, 19 July 2015 (UTC)
Ok, so why do you keep removing the "as foreign language" comment in the infobox?--37ophiuchi (talk) 11:46, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Because it's a figure you calculated yourself. — kwami (talk) 17:55, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
As usual,kwami, you prove your unparalleled prowess in reverting edits, but little else. --37ophiuchi (talk) 10:07, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
And as usual, you prove your unwillingness to follow WP:OR and WP:SYNTH. I'm also reverting an editor who would delete your contributions altogether.
To explain further, according to your description above, you are taking data from Ammon to calculate your own figures. You then cite Ammon as if they provided those figures. This is a violation of SYNTH. [Foreign learners] isn't even a datum that we normally include in our language articles (English being an exception because this is English WP). — kwami (talk) 17:54, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
WP:SYNTH and WP:OR specifically allows for uncontroversial calculations based on data provided in reliable sources. There is no good reason we couldnt also provide this data for German if we have a good source for it.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 19:02, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
The figures ARE from Ammon (2014). I did not come up with them, I merely laid down Ammon's method of deriving them in the above discussion. He specifically mentions those numbers. I cannot provide the page number at this very moment, as I visited the library and do not own the book myself. Furthermore, the justification of this being the English WP and, thus, we make an formal exception for the article English language is dangerous at best. We might just as well do the same for any other English-related article with the same fishy justification. Aside from that, adding the number of foreign speakers (if there is an appropriate source) does neither fundamentally violate the purpose of the language-infobox, nor is it detrimental to its clarity. --37ophiuchi (talk) 19:44, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ah, I misunderstood you. I read your description as meaning you had taken some data from Ammon, some from other sources, and combined them as your personal best guess. This addresses my factual objection.

English is relevant. Despite our stated goals of being universal, we are clearly an anglocentric encyclopedia. You have having learners at 'English language' as reason for having it here. It isn't (see WP:OTHERSTUFF). Justification needs to be internal: Does it improve the article? We have a section on German as a FL, which is good, but at some point adding too much detail to an info box (such as every city with an expat population, which some editors keep doing in various articles) merely results in clutter. I don't think having the number of language learners under "native speakers" is useful to the reader: they expect the number of native speakers, or perhaps L2 speakers who are practically native, not the number of kids taking it in highschool. As for using the English article as a model, IMO it is overly cluttered, and again, OTHERSTUFF applies. — kwami (talk) 20:08, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Although I clearly object any formatting preference of an article based on its cultural background, I might agree to the cluttering--argument, IF a piece of extra information might lead to an unending line of further tidbits which could be justifiably added. However, per any linguistic definition, there are only three categories of "speakers" for a language: L1, L2, and foreign. Therefore, adding foreign speakers would not open a pandora's box, but rather complement information already given. --37ophiuchi (talk) 20:18, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
OK, so I'd like to re-add the foreign language speakers-remark in the infobox. Any objections? I also strongly encourage this piece of information to be added for all languages where appropriate source references can be found, e.g., Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, French, etc.. --37ophiuchi (talk) 12:32, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
"Native speakers" is not really the right place for it, especially if we're going to have this datum in lots of articles. But as long as it's from a RS I don't have any hard objection. — kwami (talk) 19:59, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree. However, many articles on various languages already use this section not just for L1 speakers, but also for L2 numbers... Maybe the infobox should be altered so the section is simply called "speakers"? --37ophiuchi (talk) 12:26, 31 July 2015 (UTC)


I've added full protection for three days, but if this isn't a real content dispute, i.e. if it's anons adding material that can't really be justified, then I can swap it for longer semi-protection, so let me know. Sarah (talk) 18:29, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Thanks a lot, but the later would be more advisable, because now not even I can edit the article :D The specific problem were unregistered users (i.e., just IP address-aliases) who kept trying to push through certain edits by repeatedly re-inserting them. --37ophiuchi (talk) 19:53, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, I've changed it to a month's semi-protection. Sarah (talk) 19:59, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Marvelous ;) --37ophiuchi (talk) 20:27, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

German MOOC course[edit]

Please add to external links