African language Wikimedia projects

At this time, no African language Wikipedia has passed the hundred thousandth article. This is certainly due to the domination of European language Wikipedias and the relevance of their articles throughout the Internet : Almost all of EU official language (except Maltese) counts more than 40,000 articles. The greatest European language Wikipedia is English, as THE international language and the fact that it is very widespread. As consequence, that language has very detailed information about almost everything ; where other Wikipedia have stubs and quite often nothing. This makes a vicious circle that make English language more and more favorised. Despite that fact, the gap Between English and other language Wikipedias has been reduced, but in favour of other Indo-european language : 56% of all articles in Wikimedia projects are written still in an Indo-european language.

The problem with African language is that they have almost no official recognition and are not used as official language in many, many countries of Africa, which rather uses French or English or Arabic language instead. In second, there is almost nothing which allow local African language to spread over the Net : many african languages have no normalised written form. But I am going away of my subject, and will write about this later.

Situation of African language Wikipedias

So what about African language Wikipedias? Malagasy and Yoruba languages are the first, recently passing over Swahili and Afrikaans, the dominant African Wikipedias since the opening of African language Wikipedias. The third following African Swahili is Amharic, which has passed quite recently the 10,000th article.

OK, it looks good, but let’s have a look closer. Inside Malagasy Wikipedia, there is only one, but a very, very active user : in less than four years of contribution, he has shown more than 30,000 articles alone? Is he a Wikipedia “no-lifer”? Actually not. He uses his bot : Bot-Jagwar to create tons and ton of article about cities of all around the world :France, Brazil, Madagascar, etc. These articles give a general and statistical facts about the citites. A bot is not yet able to redact, huh?

Situation of African language Wiktionaries

About Wiktionary, it is the same figure as in Wikipedia : Malagasy language is strongly dominating. But here, the Malagasy Wikipedia counts about 1.4 million entries, which is almost one hundred times the greatest African-language Wiktionary in the project. This was made in only less thant 18 months, which means that many hundred thousands of entries are created over there almost every month, which is physically as well as statistically impossible due to the “widespreadness” of Malagasy language and due to the number of active users of the Wiktionary : it is turning arount 18, which means that each of these active users have written more than 100,000 pages in that time laps : which is simply impossible.

The fact is that there is only one user (or more exactly, one bot) doing all these edits: Bot-Jagwar. This bot has performed more than 5 million edits in less than 20 months and is now the most active “user” of the whole Wikimedia Projects, and has made itself more than 70% of the total edits of the Malagasy Wiktionary. This is what we call a “Bottionary” (I have seen this word somewhere, but don’t know exactly where… Google is made for that, if you know what I mean)

Situation of African language Wikibooks

About Wikibooks, African languages, even of European origin, are not very advanced. The most advanced of African language si Afrikaans with 50 chapters, followed by Malagasy with 32 chapters, Swahili with 12 and Bamamankan with only 7 chapters. There is no doubt that Wikibooks is a hard project to develop, and a less interesting one than other projects such as Wiktionary or Wikipedia. But this shows that Afrikaans language is dominating the African-language Wikimedia projects ; and very often but never always, Swahili.

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