Requests for new languages/Wikipedia American English

American English WikipediaEdit

main page Requests for new languages (Wikipedia American English)
submitted verification final decision
  This proposal has been closed as part of a reform of the request process.
This request has not necessarily been rejected, and new requests are welcome. This decision was taken by the language committee in accordance with the Language proposal policy.

The closing committee member provided the following comment:

This discussion was created before the implementation of the Language proposal policy, and it is incompatible with the policy. Please open a new proposal in the format this page has been converted to (see the instructions). Do not copy discussion wholesale, although you are free to link to it or summarise it (feel free to copy your own comments over). —{admin} Pathoschild 01:03:15, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Proposal summary
  • Language details: English (ang ISO 639-3)
  • Editing community: —
    List your user name if you're interested in editing the wiki. Add "N" next to your
    name if you are a native speaker of this language.
  • Relevant pages: —
  • External links:
Please read the handbook for requesters for help using this template correctly.
  • Is it possible to create a wiki just in American English (code: en-us)? If there is a wiki in Simple English (code: simple), then why isn't there a wiki in U.S. English? 2004-12-29T22:45Z 06:30, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The Wikipedia at is for all forms of English. See en:WP:MOS#National varieties of English. There's no reason to duplicate efforts by attempting to split that wiki into different varieties of the same language. Angela 07:07, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No thanks. That's just a ridiculous idea. Revolución 15:19, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You're right. But with the precedence set by the opening of the Voro (which is related to Estonian) Wikipedia, we might go into more languages nearly identical, eg. a Wikipedia in Kai Tahu Maori (which is a dialect spoken in a large part of the South Island) or in Flemish or maybe in Canadian French might be opened. Or even one in Ancient Greek. But we might have to wait a while. Scott Gall 11:15, 1 Jul 2005 (UTC)
Just comment: It is not exactly correct to say that Voro (actually Võro) is related to Estonian, most native Estonian speakers don't understand it fully, they understand it about same level as Finnish language, which are a all in same language family (en:Finno-Ugric languages) (and this level is catching some words or about to get idea of general idea what speaker speaks or what the witten text is about, and this not even all the time) --TarmoK 09:56, 10 July 2005 (UTC)
Exactly. Comparing US and UK English with Estonian and Võro is very wrong. Võro is not mutually intelligible with Estonian either in the spoken or the written form. Võro has a standard written form somewhat different to Estonian. Ronline 12:34, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Ancient Greek may be. It's quite different from modern Greek, and there is a Latin pedia... Caesarion 19:19, 3 Jul 2005 (UTC)
  • There is a Wiki in American English right now. It happens to have a tad over 600,000 articles. (Wikipedia's Simple English, by the way, is a sort of combination of Ogden's Basic English and the VOA's Special English, and might properly be termed a related language.) Almafeta 6 July 2005 07:53 (UTC)

I still don't see why there shouldn't be a separate Wikipedia for American English:

  • Angela said, "The Wikipedia at is for all forms of English." First of all, that's not exactly true, since Simple English is also a variety of English. So is not necessarily for all varieties of English. Then, if there's "no reason to duplicate efforts", then why do they "duplicate efforts" when editing the Simple English Wikipedia? You know, Simple English is a special variety for learners of English, but if we go by the argument above that "efforts should not be duplicated", so to say, then why bother making a Simple English Wikipedia in the first place? Why not also make Wikipedias for other varieties of English? Then she tells me to take a look at en:WP:MOS#National varieties of English, which I had already taken a look at before asking the question, and which is pointless anyway, since it's a section that explains how to spell inside the already existing Wikipedia. The section does not explain why there shouldn't be different Wikipedias for different varieties of English. The section's entitled "National varieties of English" inside the MOS (Manual of Style). Hey, that's just a manual of style, not a manual that says why there shouldn't be different English Wikipedias. Then the section starts like "Cultural clashes over grammar, spelling, and capitalisation/capitalization are a common experience on Wikipedia." That's exactly why I would like to see different Wikipedias for different varieties of English, just to avoid the "cultural clashes over grammar, spelling, and capitalisation/capitalization".
  • Then there's this Esperanto editor, Revolución, who says it's "ridiculous" to make an en-us Wikipedia. Still don't see why.
  • Then we have Alfameta who says, "There is a Wiki in American English right now.". Just like Angela's argument above, that's not exactly true. He says there's a "Wiki in American English". That's not true. When you go to certain articles, you see there are different ways of spelling in those articles, which do not correspond to American English. So I wouldn't say there's a wiki in American English, I would say there's a wiki in a Mischmasch of different varieties of English.

So, in the end, why not create Wikipedias for more varieties of English? 2004-12-29T22:45Z 9 July 2005 18:26 (UTC)

  • OPPOSE This is ABSURD. The difference between General American English and Standard British English are so small that they literally boil down to a few turns of phrase and a small number of spellings. I cannot for a second believe that anyone would be serious about such a project. It's a bad joke, frankly, and the sooner the proponents realise that, the better. BryanAJParry
Weak oppose Although American English clearly isn't a distinct language in the way Scots is, the differences are certainly more than "a few turns of phrase and a small number of spellings". I'm sure any educated person from the UK or Australasia who's ever read an American news article or watched American TV could see they're deeper than that. But I don't think they're enough to have separate wikipedias. The differences are only enough to annoy us occasionally, not confuse us.
Setting up wikipedias in different varieties of English would be damaging to the unity of the English-speaking wikipedia community and I think there is no real need. Simple English is a special case because it is for second-language learners, and it's useful in translation. Perhaps in the future things will be different, but for now we've got to make the most of the mishmash of national standards that's there. Chamdarae 07:11, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
I disagree with your assertion that the difference are very deep. But I am glad you agree the idea of an American English wiki is silly. To me it just seems like US patriotism trying to hijack the show. I'm British and, to be honest, I wouldn't give a damn if US spellings were the only accepted. BryanAJParry
Actually I don't think it's "silly", "absurd" or "ridiculous". Just unnecessary, risky and (as far as I can tell) against wikipedia policy. But I think the situation might change when en-wikipedia's growth slows down in the not-so-distant future. Until then I think having one large healthy wikipedia is better than Serbo-Croatian style fragmentation. Chamdarae 10:13, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Strongly oppose, I doubt very much that there is only one American English. If anything I expect Australian English to be more deserving. It is propably more destinct and people have more problems understanding this accent. GerardM 14:52, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
Oppose - who's the dag that put this up? A couple of roos short in the top paddock I'd say. Let's turn our mind to something really important, like whether the bullies can win the last 4 and make the 8 - now that's worth tossing around over a shandy! --pippudoz - (waarom? jus'b'coz!) 02:29, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
Extreme oppose - In the Old World, differences similar to those heard between SBE and AE, can be found ten miles apart or even closer to each other: There is (at least!) as much difference between the Maastricht and the Meerssen dialects! And really, indeed it is not as clearly different form British English as Scots is; it is not even as different from British English as Scottish English is! Man, this is ridiculous! Let's move this request to Requests for new languages/One supporter... Caesarion 18:04, 27 August 2005 (UTC)
Shouldn't the Wikipedia be in British English as being the father of American English? That would also mean going through the texts, replacing 'color' with 'colour', 'thru' with 'through', etc., but that's what robots are for. More complicated would be things like 'underground' vs 'subway', 'boot' vs 'trunk' et al. Of course we could use redirects in these cases. Also: apart from US and British English, and Aussie English as mentioned above, there are such things as African English (bakkie = pick-up truck, robot = traffic light!) and Indian English (of the India originated kind). It's rather similar to Dutch versus Flemish - nl.WK is mostly in Dutch, with some Flemish redirections (e.g. nl:hesp pointing to ham). --Marc NL 09:53, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

STRONGLY SUPPORT If you search for "American-English" on google, you'll find a long list (a very long list) of the differences. Colour/Color is but a superficial one, but it is important because it's a fundamental word and article entry. The issue is that to choose one spelling over the other goes against the principle that both spellings are equally valid; or that each spelling is regarded as the correct one (and the other as a foreign one) by millions of people, in each case. There are other issues with other words, phrases or terms.

I searched for Aubergine recently; I got redirected to "Eggplant" - what's an Eggplant? I search for Colour - it's spelt incorrectly! e.g.: if I want to search for "tap", do I redirected to "faucet"? If you use the word "faucet" in the British Isles, few people will know what you mean - even in context (they might think it's a technical term for part of a tap). In such a case, it's a foreign word to millions of "Commonwealth-English" speakers (though not necessarily all), and unintelligible - it has to be translated. To illustrate how the English I speak (in England) is a different language to American-English, I was in Bangkok a couple of years ago, and in an internet cafe - a man turned to me and said: "What's up?" I said, "Nothing? Why?", he looked at me, baffled; I looked back at him, baffled - we were using the same words, but speaking different languages; neither of us knew what we meant and why.

It became apparent that we were from different countries, and some explaining was required - we had to learn each other's language. We were not speaking the same language. 

Americans might want to call their language "English", but the term is inappropriate, because it already exists for a language that is autochthonous to England, whence the name comes. Another term has to be created for this offshoot of English, and the term "American English" is used in the OED. So it's reasonable to say that Americans don't speak "English", they speak "American-English", which is written often using words that look identical or similar, but that does not mean that the meaning is the same. Having words which look the same does not mean they are the same. The word "color" is spelt the same in a number of languages: American-English, Spanish, Asturianu, Catalan... but not in Commonwealth-English.

If it's good enough for Google and Gmail to have American-English and Commonwealth Englishes (which should probably be unified as Commonwealth-English), then it should be good enough for Wikipedia.

No offence to all of you who are not native speakers, but this debate is better had between native speakers - as it would be for any language.

I propose the fairest and most pragmatic solution is that the English Wikipedia be duplicated into two and that these two are renamed:

English (Commonwealth) English (American)

This is in keeping with Wikipedia's own policy statement on English; it also seems fair considering the existence of things like: Norwegian (Bokmal) & Norwegian (Nynorsk); Dutch, Limburgish and Afrikaans; Simple English; Galician and Portuguese; and frankly some Slavic dialects.

  • Strong Oppose. Belgian man 12:15, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose. This break the unity of the languages and convert this in a problem of countries.--Taichi - (あ!) 23:12, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose. As a non-native English-speaker, I can barely recognize (or recognise) there is a spelling difference between color and colour. And as for cases like aubergine/eggplant, I could cite almost the same number of examples in the Italian language; they can be very easily managed by redirects - or, if the developers want to write a script similar to the one in zh. or sr. for the different spellings. Splitting it now would create 2 wikipedias that would be 99.9% identical in the first stance, and then will contradict themselves with the time passing. What for? --Cruccone 12:19, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I can most certainly reconize differences between American English and, say, British English, or other varieties of English, e.g. Canadian English. They're so minmal, that they do not even support the idea calling American English an English dialect, whereas variations of American English used by different social groups inside the USA very well qualify as unique sociolects, and there are of course dialects of British English proper (e.g. Cockney). Spoken Indian English in India is far more different from British English of mainland England than American English is. As long as none of those English variants has an own Wikipedia, it's imho futile to suggest a split between British and American English Wikipedia. If there are differences, they should be incorporated into the one Wikipedia, so as to make them available to the entire English speaking/reading world. -- Purodha Blissenbach 18:54, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
  • HYBRID. MODIFY THE WIKI. Modify wikimedia's software to support (auto) tagging words like football / soccer to simulate British vs American English when it's really the same project at This would solve the majority of complaints on both sides. The software sucks... A simple language variation can be automatically converted most of the time. Words like American Football or European Football could be manually tagged, words like favor/favour or colour/color could be automatically converted.