My feeds have been full with Dumi editing up a storm on the Xitstonga Wikipedia recently, as well as helping the Ndebele Wikipedia into the incubator. Ndebele is the only South African official language without a Wikipedia, and it’s great to see this hole being plugged. So, it’s time for another African language Wikipedia update. The usual disclaimer that this only takes into account number of articles, an imperfect metric, as not all articles are equal. This article is in a far healthier state than this one, for example.
But as an indicator of trends and activity, it’s as good as any, so let’s see what been happening:
African Language Wikipedias
Afrikaans as always continues to show steady growth, and while at times growth in other languages has spiked for a short while, Afrikaans has shown steady, consistent progress, and most of its articles are high quality as well.
Swahili too shows steady growth, and has passed Yoruba, which was the beneficiary of a brief spike.
Most dramatic has been been Northern Sotho, which is the most recent official language of South Africa to get a Wikipedia, and which only recently broke the 1000 article barrier. It has now surged past seven other languages, with 2830 articles. Much of this growth (a whopping 1544 new articles) is down to User:Aliwal2012, a hospital pharmacist living in Lady Grey who’s also extremely active on the Afrikaans Wikipedia, and modestly contributes to the English Wikipedia as well. Modest is a relative term, since in spite of being around for about decade less than me, and English only being their third most active language, they’ve still created more new articles in English than I have!
A great example of the impact one person can have, made more visible by it being in a language that has little content.
Kabyle, a language spoken mostly in northern Algeria, as well as France, has also shown some growth, passing Shona.
Kongo, spoken in the DRC, Republic of Congo and Angola, has now also broken 1000 articles and is a new edition on the list, and Kikuyu is knocking on the door as well.
Exciting to see new languages and bursts of activity, with only a few being relatively stagnant.
On to the South African languages specifically:
South African Language Wikipedias
The results here are particularly pleasing, as with the exception of Swati, all the languages are showing activity. As Northern Sotho and Xitsonga, have shown, one person can make a substantial impact.
Anecdotally, some of the of this activity may be down to the content translation tool – it’s great to see a useful tool put to use by the community.
This has probably been the most optimistic report since I started these a number of years ago. Long may it continue, as we get closer to a world where each human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
- June 2015 African language Wikipedia update
- October 2014 African language Wikipedia and Wiktionary update
- June 2014 African Wikipedia and Wiktionary update
- May 2013 African language Wikipedia update
- November African language Wikipedia update: Afrikaans passes Swahili
- April 2012 African language Wikipedia update
- Northern Sotho Wikipedia now an official project, Afrikaans reaches 20 000 articles
- African language Wiktionary update
- African language Wikipedia update
- Wolof Wikipedia reaches 1000 articles
- Swahili Wikipedia now the largest African-language Wikipedia
- The state of Wikimedia projects in South African and Africa – Dec 2008
- The South African Wikimedia communities
- Venda Wikipedia Progress
- First Wikipedia Academy in Africa
- Wikipedia Week
- Afrikaans Wikipedia hits 5000 articles
Image from Wikimedia Commons