Monday, August 27, 2007

Some more on Wolof

OmegaWiki wants to support all words of all languages and, it does not want to go into the issue of does this language exist or not. We make use of the ISO 639 standards and, when we feel like being adventurous, we look at what is recognised in the IANA language tags.

Deferring to standard organisations means that you take what they say as the "truth". It does not mean that we necessarily agree, but it saves us from a lot of mayhem. Yesterday I wrote about the first native Wolof speaker for OmegaWiki. Today Ibou changed the definition for Wolof and included Gambia as a country where Wolof is spoken. According to the description by Ethnologue of the Wolof language this is not the case. They do refer to another language, Gambian Wolof, this description makes it clear that Wolof is spoken in the Gambia as well.

The article on Wikipedia on Wolof is in my opinion wrong; it gives the impression that the ISO-639-1 and the ISO-639-2 codes are split into two. This is contrary to how standards work. When a language is split into two, the original meaning will stand as it is, it will get a new description to indicate that it has been split and two new codes will be created.

So Ethnologue is inconsistent. Ibou is probably right. I have send an e-mail to Ethnologue and I hope that they will amend their fine resource so that we will know for sure that he is right. :)


Sunday, August 26, 2007

One new user

Sometimes a new user is special. To me Ibou is special. He is the first Wolof native speaker on OmegaWiki. He is the first person where I have been told for whom communicating in English will be difficult.

I could not be more happy with what he has done so far; he created the Babel templates for Wolof. He has translated the first part of the main menu. Really, he makes the next Wolof speakers feel welcome..


Friday, August 24, 2007

Localisation of OmegaWiki

What makes OmegaWiki so special, is that the presentation of the data is shown in the language selected in the user preferences. The data is sorted properly. It is really nice.

In the next version of the software, it will be possible to localise the headers as well. These are currently in English only. In contrast to how the localisation is done, the headers will be system messages. In this way each Wikis for Professionals can choose the headers that provide the best fit for its application.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

30.000 Expressions for English in the Community Database

The word "Southern Sierra Miwok" is a language particular to California. In 1994 there were still 7 people that spoke this language. According to the UMLS, the name of the language is Meewoc and as Ethnologue provides it as one of the alternate names, it was possible to link this DefinedMeaning in the Community Database with the concept in the UMLS.

With 30.000 Expressions, there are many that also exist in the UMLS Authoritative Database. The UMLS has some 1.93 million Expression at the moment, and the first 200+ DefinedMeanings have already been linked. They are mainly US-American languages and chemical elements with an occasional animal like guinea pig thrown in for good measure.

It is relevant to have the concept linked. It means that the information in one database can be seen as supplementary to what is available in another database. Currently we have three databases, but when you consider how they are structured, there are implicit connections known as many of the concepts known in the UMLS are also known in the Swiss-Prot database. The only thing left doing is making them explicit. :)