Talk:User language/2008

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The comments in this archive were originally posted to Template talk:User language.

Comparison with babel templates

{{[[template:user language|user language]]}} was coded as a replacement for the existing babel template system, which included a large number of separate templates and categories per language. The following section was used when it was proposed to compare the two systems, and is archived here for future relevance. —{admin} Pathoschild 22:38:29, 04 February 2008 (UTC)

Primary advantages

  • English text and localized text;
  • only one optional template per language (instead of 3–7 required);
  • supports any language, even if the optional localization is not done;
  • only requires one category per language (instead of 3–7), with users sorted by level;
  • usage and creation much simpler, so Meta:Babel templates could be merged into template documentation;
  • levels standardized (since it's no longer necessary to create templates for each individual level per language);
  • localization vastly simplified.

Text comparison

Localized languages

{{[[template:user language|user language]]}} {{user ja-1}}, {{user ja-2}}, {{user ja-3}}
ja-1 このユーザは基本的な日本語を読み書きします。
ja-1 このユーザは基本的な日本語を読み書きします。
ja-2 このユーザはある程度の日本語を読み書きします。
ja-2 このユーザはある程度の日本語を読み書きします。
ja-3 このユーザは流暢な日本語を読み書きします。
ja-3 このユーザは流暢な日本語を読み書きします。
ja-N このユーザは母語として日本語を読み書きします。
ja-N このユーザは母国語として日本語を読み書きします。

Unlocalized languages

(This example is no longer current)

{{user language}} {{user hsb-1}}, {{user hsb-2}}, {{user hsb-3}}
hsb-1 This user can read and write basic Hornjoserbsce.
Translate this template!
hsb-1 Tutón wužiwar ma zakładne znajomosće hornjoserbšćiny.
hsb-2 This user can read and write intermediate Hornjoserbsce.
Translate this template!
hsb-2 Tutón wužiwar ma rozšĕrjene znajomosće hornjoserbšćiny.
hsb-3 This user can read and write fluently in Hornjoserbsce.
Translate this template!
hsb-3 Tutón wužiwar ma jara dobre znajomosće hornjoserbšćiny.
hsb-N This user can read and write natively in Hornjoserbsce.
Translate this template!

Alignment comparison

Babel templates

{{user fr-4}}
{{user ja-3}}
{{user en-2}}
fr-4 Cette personne peut contribuer avec un niveau très avancé de français.
ja-3 この利用者は流暢日本語を話します。
en-2 This user is able to contribute with an intermediate level of English.

Babel templates (with standard meta-template)

Meta:Babel templates
fr-4 Cette personne peut contribuer avec un niveau très avancé de français.
ja-3 この利用者は流暢日本語を話します。
en-2 This user is able to contribute with an intermediate level of English.

User language templates

{{user language|fr|N}}
{{user language|ja|3}}
{{user language|en|2}}
fr-N This user can read and write natively in French.
Cette personne peut contribuer avec un niveau maternelle de français.
ja-3 This user can read and write fluently in Japanese.
en-2 This user can read and write intermediate English.

"Un niveau maternelle de français", with "niveau" masculine and "maternelle" feminine, would be understood (if at all) as "a kindergarten level of French". :-) Happily the definitive version ("Cette personne a pour langue maternelle le français") is far better. — Tonymec 11:25, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Extension, levels

The following discussion is closed: Fourth level proposed at Meta:Babel.

Hoi, it being in templates means that there is little point to it. It makes more sense to make an extenstion for this. There is some work done on Betawiki for this. Also you only have four templates.. There are six levels being used. 0-1-2-3-4-5-N Thanks, GerardM 09:45, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I have no idea about the extention you mean. As for the number of levels, meta is familiar with 1-3 and native. (I prefer 1-3 + n rather than 1-4 since as coordinator the distinction between nearly native and native is some thing I love to be aware, but we can manage it later). So as for meta it is overdemandeing to make those six categories since such are not used here on meta and I respectfully but strongly disagree to make a such change without any negotiation or discussion. Betawiki may choose their favorite way but it cannot be brought without consensus on existing meta community. I know some people use XX-0 but it wouldn't make a sense here on meta; and 0 could be easily add, I think. --Aphaia 09:52, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
When Single User Logon becomes available, it makes sense to have information like the Babel template on a higher level then individual projects. This is why in my opinion project specific implementations lack relevance. GerardM 22:13, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Feel free to create and implement that extension. In the meantime, templates are the best technique we have available. —{admin} Pathoschild 22:25:34, 03 February 2008 (UTC)
I think there is value in distinguishing "near native" (4) from "native" (N)... not sure about "5" though... what is that designating on Betawiki ?? ++Lar: t/c 16:47, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Level 3 is fluent, meaning "able to express oneself readily and effortlessly"[1]. I don't think there is any need for additional levels beyond this point; the next step above "fluent" would be a world-renowned poet, translating everything into beautiful flowing verse. The reason level 'N' is separate is because users tend to overestimate their own abilities in non-native languages, not because level 3 is insufficient. —{admin} Pathoschild 21:04:04, 03 February 2008 (UTC)
When you are able to express yourself fluently it means that you can express yourself without hesitation. It does not mean that the vocabulary is similar to the vocabulary a native would use. This is what a level four is there for. This level would be for people who life or lived in a country for an extended period of time and have consequently a better grasp of the language and culture. GerardM 21:07, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Level 0 is used in some project to indicate no competence in a language. Level 5 is used to indicate professional use of a language .. think translator, teacher, writer. GerardM 22:11, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
It would be good if you could include level 4 and 5 in the template as well. --Boivie 09:27, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Disagree. Simple is best imo. --Aphaia 09:29, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I do agree, it is more in line with practices elsewhere. GerardM 22:45, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I disagree; Levels 4 and 5 are redundant with level 3 (as I explained above), and these levels do not seem to be consistently used on Wikimedia wikis. The majority of templates on Meta had levels 0-3, and a small number also had 4-5. Since they are redundant, I think it is better for the mnew system to convert them to level 3 than to add them. —{admin} Pathoschild 23:07:04, 09 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, this argument can be refuted as I did above as well. I disagree that they are redundant. GerardM 21:07, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I am active on Wikis in two languages. I am a native speaker of Polish and in English I am close to native (in my work I write and publish articles in this language). In my view "near native" fourth level is needed. Many users at intermediate to advanced levels will chose to indicate their fluency (sometimes only to boast, I'm afraid), but only some of them are at the level close to native (also, claiming it without much grounds is probably a bit more rare than describing own "fluency"). For people really advanced in non-native languages 3 is way too little, while N is simply not true. As far as 5th or 6th levels go - I don't think they are that important. But simplifying non-native language competences to 3 categories is definitely a bit ridiculous and harms the informational value of the babel tower. Pundit 01:45, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Pundit here; I do not think it is sufficient to only have level three. Level four is needed as well, in my opinion, for the very reasons Pundit mentions. However, I think level 5 (and 6) are unnecessary and used only for bloating. But level four is definately informational. Jon Harald Søby 17:30, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

GerardM, I don't mind which practices you found on OmegaWiki. But it is not meta practices. I strongly disagree with you to impose it just because if it is a practice elsewhere. Perhaps so but It is no meta practice. You gave no other good reason than it is a practice on another wiki, it isn't a good argument which is better. I love to keep current practice which I found more convenient. Thanks. --Aphaia 09:10, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Aphaia, I am as much allowed to give my arguments as you are allowed to give yours. I do not impose; I feel being imposed on and when this is then characterised as being "the Meta way", then I am impressed with the quality of argumentation. Also what has OmegaWiki to do with this ??? GerardM 21:07, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Sorry you mentioned BetaWiki not OmegaWiki. It was my confusion. Well it would be finer but I don't think it improvement. I prefer to keep tools fitting to its purpose and don't mind if it looks crude for the other people. The current three classification is fitting for my need, so I strongly support it. In my humble opinion babel-like subjective self-classification is usually tend to go overestimation and it doesn't work, if it is too fined and complicated. I once reviewed self-nominated ja-4 people but found no distinction from ja-3, or en-4/ja-n and en-3/ja-n for example. And there are some people use -4 or -5 but it was not imported systematically. They only brought their favorite systems just for their use, not having brought any attempt to make a consensus or modified the guideline on meta namespace. I personally feel annoyed and would like to have cropped, but as you know, it may take a time and I couldn't afford time in any way. It is not a systematically imposed classification so if we face a time to reconfiguration, I support to get rid of them. Thanks. --Aphaia 21:42, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I was quoting you. I have good experiences with many people using levels 1 to 5 and native. It works really well. So we have opposite experiences. What we also have is this move towards this new system with expressed oposition and no consensus. GerardM 22:59, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Impérialisme linguistique

The following discussion is closed: English text removed

Bien, excusez-moi pour le dire, je recconnais le travail et peut-être j'exagère, mais je pense que les nouveaux modèles sont terriblement impérialist en mettant l'anglais sur touts les autres langues. Les categories étaient suffisant. C'est dommage. - Jorge Morais 02:45, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Le nouveaux modèle a été construit en collaboration avec plusieurs traducteurs habituées en plus de membres du souscommission de traduction. Le but du texte anglais est de produire un texte commun qui peut être compris sans nécessité une connaissance des catégories et des codes linguistiques. L'anglais s'agit ici d'une langue commune entre les divers traducteurs; il est très rare de trouvez un traducteur qui ne peut pas lire un peu d'anglais. Ce n'est pas la domination linguistique que nous cherchons, mais une collaboration plus accrus et plus éfficace. —{admin} Pathoschild 03:39:38, 02 February 2008 (UTC)
Oui, je comprends votre intention. Je n'ai pas vu la discussion - où est-elle, sil vous plaît? - mais je ne vois pas beaucoup des bénéfices - quel sont-ils? -, et ils continuent impérialists. De plus, les modèles babel n'etaient pas utilisé seulement par des traducteurs. Non serait-il plus aproprié faire ça avec ces modèles-ci? Une fusion peut-être? Enfin, je ne les utilisera plus =(. Comment j'ai dit, c'est dommage. - Jorge Morais 04:33, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
J'ai eu plusieurs discussions fructueuses dans le canal IRC #wikimedia-translation, brièvement sur wiki avec Aphaia, et en publique sur Meta:Babel. J'ai reçue aucune objection quelconque (autre que celle-ci). Si il y as une consensus contre le texte anglais, ce serait très simple de l'enlever.
Outre le texte anglais, le nouveau modèle inclus un grand nombre de bénéfices:
  • Le création de modèles babel pour une langue ne requis qu'une simple traduction (voyez "Translating the template"). Le modèle {{user language}} s'occupe du format, du changement du texte entre niveaux, des catégories, et cetera. (Les vieilles modèles requirent trois à six modèles complètes par langue.)
  • Il est possible d'utilisé le modèle avant qu'une traduction est disponible, pour les utilisateurs qui ne sont pas familier avec le codage MediaWiki. De plus, le traduction est assez simple et bien-expliqué qu'aucune connaissance technique n'est requis.
  • Les utilisateurs sont désormais catégorisé dans une seule catégorie par langue (au lieu de quatre à sept), assortie par le niveau de leur maitrise.
  • Puisque le modèle est centralisé, les niveau et formats sont désormais standardisé, et tous les niveau sont disponible pour chaque langue (avant, plusieurs langues n'avait qu'une ou deux niveau crées).
Ces changements ont été faits pour le bénéfice de tous les utilisateurs; les traducteurs ont été consulté principalement en tant qu'utilisateurs des modèles babel. —{admin} Pathoschild 21:25:53, 02 February 2008 (UTC)
It would be acceptable when a text in English is shown when a text in the language is lacking. When you have a template like this, you do want to link it to a specific location, they can be portals or an external resource.. You may also want to know that there are people working on making the Babel templates an extension. This would make the messages more uniform..
I could see myself adopt your system without the English... GerardM 19:54, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
I disagree seing both English text and "local" text. There will be strong opposition on French Wikipédia when you will try to export that. Texts in "local" languages are present since Spring 2005, without any other form. Hégésippe | ±Θ± 04:58, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

fr: J'ai recodé le modèle pour que le texte anglais soit second et plus petit. Qu'en pensez-vous?
en: I've recoded the template so that the English translation is second and smaller. What do you think? —{admin} Pathoschild 02:26:08, 07 February 2008 (UTC)

As long as smaller means invisible it is fine. The only moment when English is acceptable is when there is no translation in the language itself GerardM 05:04, 7 February 2008 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed: ar-N

Could someone modify the template so as to allow for different directionalities, please (rtl for the least)? I tried it on Template:User language/ar without any success... The Arabic template looks really bad now that the ends of the lines are aligned to the left. Malhonen 14:53, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Fixed. I changed {{rtl|text}} to right-align text, and added it to the Arabic localization.



The following discussion is closed.

Maybe another parameter to prevent user categorisation, for those of us who'd like to add a language template without dragging in the category set? The obvious example is Tsolyáni: I'd like to keep the template in my Babel box, but I can live without the categorisation. Once that is omitted, Tsolyáni localisation has small enough a footprint (a single sub-template) that it won't bother anybody else.  :-) Urhixidur 04:19, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

This is already part of the template; for example, try {{user language|tsolyáni|1|category=}}. —{admin} Pathoschild 05:23:14, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

" and write natively...?!

The following discussion is closed.

As a native speaker/writer of English for over half a century and a language professional (translator and editor), I object to the present wording of the Babel box for native English. The [Encarta] dictionary does indeed list "natively" as the adverb form of "native" — but in usage (seen on a Google search of "read natively" and "write natively"), it seems restricted to the IT context. I suggest a rewording: "This user can read and write natively at native level in English." Feedback appreciated by yrs. truly, Deborahjay 13:27, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Done. —{admin} Pathoschild 19:58:07, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! but, ummmmmmm, not quite right: it would be better to omit the indefinite article (" a native level..."). So I reopened the closed discussion for this; hope that's acceptable :-) -- w/appreciation, Deborahjay 18:05, 24 February 2008 (UTC) (On third thought, it's fine as is!) Thanks again, Deborahjay 10:34, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Simple English... a special case?

The following discussion is closed: Simple English not added

Please see [2] which has some interesting information. The outcome of this category debate was to remove most of the categories and merge them all to a single "simple english" category. That of course is not binding anywhere else but I mention it because it makes me think that simple English may be a special case, not amenable to the normal 1-4 and N classification scheme, and I'm wondering how it would be handled by the template. ++Lar: t/c 00:55, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Simple English is not its own language or dialect, and I don't think it should have its own set of categories (it currently doesn't on Meta). It is an undefined subset of English arbitrarily invented by the contributors, and it has no ISO 639 code (although there is one for English itself). I don't think simple English categories would serve any useful purpose in terms of helping users communicate or find translators. —{admin} Pathoschild 02:08:22, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Well that was mostly the consensus of that discussion, yes. (although they did retain one category, and I do think there is merit in knowing who is good at writing in it and who isn't) But some still use babelboxes for showing proficiency with it, hence my question whether (and how) this template should work to replace babelboxes for this use as it does for others, whether you personally agree with the usage or not... ++Lar: t/c 17:51, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
The template applies a single standard category scheme; a separate scheme for simple English would be possible by programming an exception into the main template. That's generally a bad idea, given that it would only be applicable on a few pages, but the programming would be run each of the 9000 or so instances (on 3392 Meta pages). An alternative would be to move the categories into the localization pages, but this would make standardization difficult and be counterintuitive. —{admin} Pathoschild 21:31:54, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Simplified international English is something close to En-3, isn't it? :) The Council of Europe scale (6 levels of non-native language competence) would probably place it close to B2-C1 levels (judging from their descriptions of competences required for each level). It is yet another argument to bring en-4 back: en-3 signifies an ability to communicate, while en-4 is also the ability to contribute to articles and to write in English with only minor slips. Pundit 18:08, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Feel free to propose a fourth level on Meta:Babel. —{admin} Pathoschild 21:31:54, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Good idea, done :) Pundit 23:09, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I would argue (as someone who is en-N, or at least thinks he is, and who has tried to write some Simple English prose, and failed quite badly at it) that it is not really en-3... writing simply is actually quite difficult. Complex phrasings and rare vocabulary words have a habit of sneaking in. So having en-3 skill, or even en-N skill, does NOT mean you are a proficient simple English writer. Hence the desire to categorize it somehow, not using the standard scheme. To Pathoschild's point though, unless there are likely to be other cases where some kind of special casing is needed, we don't want 9000 occurrences of a template to execute extra code to handle 17 cases :)... the problem gets worse presumably if this scheme is packaged up for reuse on other wikis. ++Lar: t/c 00:19, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'd imagine that someone at en-4 might be better at writing in simple English than an en-N person, just because for a non-native it is easier to judge what is and what is not simple. But even if simple English may be a separate dialect, I don't think it would practically make any sense to introduce it as a separate language tower. Pundit 01:12, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Ernest Hemingway might have been great at simple: :-). Hillgentleman 01:22, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Migration plan?

I'd appreciate a step-by-step description of how one would go about implementing the new User language scheme on an existing wiki, such as the French Wiktionary, for example. Ideally, aim for a minimum of transplantation: copying the existing localisations from meta raises an obvious maintenance issue, so one would like to "remotely" reference the meta.wikimedia localisations in a way similar to how images used on any wiki refer back to commons.wikimedia. Urhixidur 17:33, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm interested in this as well. Perhaps a bot could keep things synchronised though? ++Lar: t/c 18:02, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
That's possible, but the focus right now should be on finalizing the implementation on Meta (such as adding a fourth level and precisely describing the levels) to make sure we implement a reasonably stable standard. —{admin} Pathoschild 01:40:51, 04 March 2008 (UTC)

"ru-4" level does not exist?

I had gathered from various discussions here that Meta now uses the XX-4 level for languages, but when I add {{user language|ru|4}} to my userpage, I am told that it is an "invalid fluency level". Am I doing something wrong? It Is Me Here 11:25, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Most languages do not have the descriptions prepared. Technically level 4 is "out there", but you need to edit the template. Pundit 16:30, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
Only 17 of 119 localizations haven't been updated yet. —{admin} Pathoschild 04:32:00, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Categories for different levels

I hope I'm writing in the right place.

I saw that the standard message texts in the Template:User language/** subdirectories include [[Category:User **]] but not [[Category:User **-1]]/2/3/N etc. I wondered if consensus was reached for such decision, because I judge this loss of information as a damage in multilingual communication. I'm working on this system to export it ti la. and it.wikisource and before making dramatic changes on those project I'd like to be fully informed. - εΔω 01:45, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

No information was lost. Instead of having separate subcategories, the users are sorted under headers within one category. For example, see the category description for Category:User it. —{admin} Pathoschild 04:15:50, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh, great.I think that it is perfect with a limited number of users. On meta I noticed that it creates long lists and that a "number" isn't so self-explaining as a text in a subcategory can be. Maybe a single number to tile each level is too short a description, otherwise the subcategories (especially with large numbers) are still useful. - εΔω 10:20, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Maybe JavaScript which labels the headers would be useful; this isn't currently possible using MediaWiki formatting. The example script below clarifies the headings (like "1" to "1 (native)"). It also works with non-English interfaces ("1 续" to "1 (native) 续"), so localization would be possible.
if(wgPageName.match(/^Category:User_/)) {
	labels = document.getElementsByTagName('h3');
	keys   = ["", "native", "nearly native", "fluent", "intermediate", "basic"];
	for(var i=0; i<labels.length; i++) {
		text = labels[i].innerHTML;
		if(text.match(/^[0-5](?: .+)?/)) {
			key = text.match(/^[0-5]/);
			labels[i].innerHTML = text.replace(/^[0-5]/, key + ' (' + keys[key] + ')');
{admin} Pathoschild 16:54:34, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, here is my version from which I copy below the relevant modification. I still think that subcategories are not evil. - εΔω 15:50, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
{{#switch:{{{2}}}|0=|1|2|3|4|N=[[Category:user {{{1}}}-{{#switch:{{{2}}}|N=N|4=4|3=3|2=2|1=1}}|{{PAGENAME}}]]
{{#ifexist:Category:user {{{1}}}-{{{2}}}||[[Category:Missing user category]]}}|[[Category:Wrong Babel level]]}}

Bad Esperanto text

See my comment of a few minutes ago (the first on that page), in Esperanto at Template talk:User language/eo. On second thought, not sure if it belongs here or there. — Tonymec 15:14, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

You can edit it. :-) Cbrown1023 talk 15:34, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
The template (non-talk) page looked empty; I didn't try. Now I see (on clicking the edit link) that the eo-4 localization is missing. I'll add it now, thanks. — Tonymec 15:39, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Er... maybe it could be advisable to move this page to Template:User language/zh-yue. I feel that being consistent with every chosen prefix code would save everybody a lot of problems (as I think it will be for "zh-classical" or "roa-tara"). - εΔω 17:40, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

"yue" is a valid ISO 639 code, so it should be used instead of "zh-yue" which isn't. Adding a redirect from zh-yue would work fine, though. —{admin} Pathoschild 22:14:38, 05 August 2008 (UTC)
  Done. Why was a wrong code used to name a whole wikipedia when the short and valid one was fully available? On the Request page it was correctly spelled, and yet typing yue: and zh-yue: gives very different results. Strange. - εΔω 15:36, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
There is a story behind this tiny little detail. [3],[4],[5] Hillgentleman 07:54, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

inclusion or exclusion of languages

I'm not in a position to judge Pathoschild's choices, so I'd like to have some information: Babeltemplates are useful to help mutual understanding and coordination between projects. On (and other projects) in order to control the proliferation of strange or useless babelmessages the limits are:

  • ISO 639 code must exist and
  • a Wikimedia project (typically a Wikipedia) must exist

any other message is deleted until it falls under these conditions. Is it wrong? What's the criterium here on meta (which I understand is a different project)? - εΔω 07:01, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Neither requirement is used on Meta, since the goal here is to facilitate communication between editors instead of between projects. Since there is only one template with localizations, it's much easier to organize many localizations, and less reason to limit them. However, other projects are free to enforce their own limits. —{admin} Pathoschild 13:40:47, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Very clear and sensible. Thank you for your answer. - εΔω 16:30, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Additional param?

A frequent use, in various wikis, is to put a user language-like template in the category pages. For example, the English Wikipedia's Category:User en-4 bears a box at its top that reads "These users speak English at a near-native level.". This is similar to this page's {{user language|en|4}} except that the subject is plural ("these users" instead of "this user").

Shouldn't we add a parameter to the template to permit this? Say plur? The localised templates would then each need to be edited to take it into account. For example, User language/en could change from:

 |name = English
 |text = This user {{#switch:{{{2}}}


 |name = English
 |text = Th{{#if:{{{plur|}}}|ese users|is user}} {{#switch:{{{2}}}

(Obviously some of the User language sub-pages would need more complicated modifications, depending on the grammar)

The User language template code would also need to be touched up, so it no longer does any categorisation when this new parameter is specified.

Comments? Urhixidur 14:26, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Oh yeah, when plur would be specified, it must be possible to specify "any fluency level" (in order to accommodate the parent category; i.e. the categories User en-0, User en-1...User en-N are usually sub-categories of User en. This could be done by allowing {{{2}}} to remain unspecified, I guess (in which case the main template will need considerable rework), or by adding a "*" fluency value alongside "0".."4" and "N". Urhixidur 14:38, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Why level N is changed to level 5 on CATEGORY page ?

Hi! Why the LEVEL N is changed to 1 and 1 is changed to 5 in last switch command ? At CATEGORY page, users are listed under 5 subtitle and not under N... ???? I don't understood this code... :-( See my user page and click on the category user pt... i'm listed as 5 and not as N level... Até+! Morais69br 04:05, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi! Why the LEVEL is changed in LAST switch command... when adding a category... ? I don't understood this... At CATEGORY page, users are listed under 5 subtitle and not under N... ???? See my user page and click on the category user pt... i'm listed as 5 and not as N level... Thanks. Até+! Morais69br 04:09, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Hello Morais69br. You're listed under '1', not '5'. Unfortunately, it's not possible to use more descriptive labels as category keys because they would no longer be sorted correctly (for example, 'N' would be sorted after all non-native users). If we add this code to MediaWiki:Monobook.js (after making it more robust), it will replace the numbers with useful labels:
if(wgPageName.match(/^Category:User_/)) {
	labels = document.getElementsByTagName('h3');
	keys   = ["", "native", "nearly native", "fluent", "intermediate", "basic"];
	for(var i=0; i<labels.length; i++) {
		text = labels[i].innerHTML;
		if(text.match(/^[0-5](?: .+)?/)) {
			key = text.match(/^[0-5]/);
			labels[i].innerHTML = text.replace(/^[0-5]/, key + ' (' + keys[key] + ')');
Pathoschild 04:38:12, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Native level ?!

After forty or fifty years in this world, one can end up having catalan as his mother tongue, having been scholarized in spanish, specializing in commercial french and knowing very well the arab from the streets of Tetouan. Of course all these subtleties are impossible to record in a simple quantitative snapshot, but my point is that being a native speaker of a language is a nuance rather than a level of performance competence. As anyone grown in a diglossic scenario can witness, being a native speaker of a given language only correlates with the highest level of performance competence in monolingual, highly educated contexts --that is, in the minority of the cases.

I am very sorry to be late to this discussion. As I see it, a cultural bias has instilled the discussion process, and it will continue to make its way as the users here, mainly educated anglophones, share these assumptions. But if this design is intended to help with global projects, honestly I will give it another thought. To begin with, I would deprecate the 'N' level, no matter how intuitive it may appear. Another issue is that fluency levels as described in Template:User_language are related to a supposed native-equal-to-highest level. And of course the main problem is the natural resistance to change at the current stage of the process.

--Ersaloz 03:30, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

It all depends on how you would describe yourself. Personally I have quite a good level of English knowledge, many native English speakers don't guess from my prose that it isn't my native language, but I would feel it hard to hold my own in argumentation in English against a Cambridge don (Cambridge, England or Cambridge, Massachusetts, take your pick ;-) ) at the level which I could hold against a Frenchman, or against the same Cambridge don if the debate were in Esperanto. I have a friend with a Syrian father and a French mother: I imagine he might quite well describe both French and Arabic as his "native" language (when asked about his mother language, he answers: "French is my mother language, and Arabic is my father language"). My stepsister talks French at home but all her schooling (from grade school to university) has been in Dutch: she might describe both French and Dutch as "native". Or maybe she wouldn't, I don't know. I agree that "native" and "quasi-native" are sometimes hard to tell apart; but English is such a difficult language (idioms and all) that I would never describe myself as a "native" English speaker. — Tonymec 07:22, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
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