A few minutes ago I stumbled across this page. After a moment of stunned silence (incredulous thought: "can this really be true?") I suffered one of those true laughing fits that leave you weak and helpless :-)
On second thought, I now wonder: What's the point? Why do they do this? Here are my ruminations...
- Is it easier for native speakers of Swiss German to read articles written in Swiss German, rather than articles written in High German? For me, certainly not! Swiss German is not a written language, and as far as I know, neither are the other dialects and variants of Alemannic German. Consequently, since I have never learned to read (or write, for that matter) Swiss German, I really have a hard time reading, and understanding, articles such as this one.
- Is the Alemannic Wikipedia supposed to represent us speakers of Alemannic German better than the High German Wikipedia? If this is the intention, if the language I speak is my identity that needs representation, then I don't feel represented very well. Why? Because articles written in any one of the major Swiss German dialects (e.g. Bernese German , Basel German, Walliser German) are simply too different from the dialect I speak. To appropriately represent speakers of a certain dialect, an entire Wikipedia would need to be dedicated to that dialect (I, for instance, would need a "Central Switzerland German Wikipedia"). This is preposterous!
- Are there articles on the Alemannic Wikipedia that do not exist on the High German Wikipedia? After reading their goals, I now believe that this is actually what those Alamanni :-) have in mind. Personally, I believe that it would be much better to write those articles in High German on the High German Wikipedia, so that the rest of the world could also benefit from the information. If not even native speakers can easily read Alemannic German (see question/answer #1), people who have learned High German as a second or third language will have no chance at all to understand Alemannic German.
It's funny. Originally I intended to write something short and (hopefully) humorous, but somehow this story about the Alemannic Wikipedia has turned into a kind of rant. Usually I try not to criticize the work of other people (spammers excepted :-), but in this case I just feel that the whole effort is a complete waste of time. I would really like to hear what other people think of this, so if you have an opinion, please write a comment (even if you read this story after a month or a year).
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