Hi RobertL, I apologize for being busy elsewhere - I've seen your question just a minute go.
I remember that some wikis have a "p" for "passive understanding" marker, but only few, and they are not very often used (My guess based on category counts of likely 2008)
Nevertheless, I stick to the suggesstion to make a difference between active and passive language skills where apropriate. I can present my own skills as examples for various and diverse combinations of hand- or machinewriting, reading, speaking or hearing skill combinations. Since mainly reading and typing is of importance, I think active=typewriting and passive=reading would suffice for Babel. That lets look at my Afrikaans and Russian skills.
- I learned some Russion at a school as a teenager, hardly used it since, I am awfully slow reading it and need to look up some 20% of the words in an average russian Wikipedia article, which makes me (almost) "ru-1". I am much better than that at handwriting, or reading aloud (without necessarily understanding, what I read) but I should call myself "ru-0" when it comes to typing, since I do not have a cyrillic keyboard, do not know its layout, and using tools to click single letters together is that slow that I simply don't do it - once I did, creating a little article in the russian wikipedia, I had about one typing or grammar error in every two or three words.
- I never learned Afrikaans, but it is apparently close enough to my native languages and other acquainted ones that I once read a lengthy text in Afrikaans about a topic I superficially knew (af:Frankfurt am Main, if I recall that right) without even realizing which language I was reading, only keeping some three words in mind that I needed to look up. That makes me "af-2" at least, but I am unable to spell Afrikaans, or even to actively know almost any words in Afrikaans, leave alone getting the grammar right - my tries boil down to something which is not Afrikaans and neither some sort of German, Low German, Dutch, Middle Dutch, Colognian, Flemish, Limburgish, Frisian, but has similarities :-) which makes me effectively "af-0" despite the fact that I can answer simple questions often quite well with yes, no, maybe, some figures or a date, or finding enough bits and pieces to copy&paste them together in a vialble way.
I believe, potential communication partners should be aware of such asymetries. We had it in conjunction with foreign keyboards already, the subject matter of scripts:
- Since I read the Latin and Cyrillic scripts, but not the Arabic, Chinese, or Devanagari, I can e.g. recognize names of "Western" persons or places in some central Asian languages using two or three scripts, provided I can fetch them in one of the scripts that I understand. If I understand a script without having sufficient skills in any language using it, I still should be able to signal that to potential communication partners. So I pledge to inherently add users to a subcategory of the "Users by script" category with their languages, and allow them to explicitly add themselves using something like "und-Cyrl", which means undefined language and understands Cyrillic script.
- Sometimes, ones skills differ per script, if a language uses several. Thus, for the few languages that have a variety of scripts, we should be able to specify e.g. "ku-Latn-1", "ku-Cyrl-3", and "ku-Arab-0" together, if need be, and the scriptless variant "ku-N" e.g. should then mention every usual script. According to the BCP-47 data in the IANA language subtag registry, we don't have so many languages, to which this applies, and their scripts can be extracted from there. Another possible source may be the CLDR, the UNICODE Common Locale Data Registry.
Greetings --Purodha Blissenbach 21:17, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
the Babel extension and directionalityEdit
Hi! With the modification at the global account page for m:user:Kanjy ( revision: https://meta.wikimedia.org/?oldid=15210943 ) I found a wiki without a local page but also where the account is registered: w:azb:user:Kanjy . Please take a look at the screen side where the Babel data is/are displayed. In a wiki with the directionality of the content language set to RTL. You see the rendering at the left side regardless if the information is embeded in a(n) LTR environment.
To my knowledge there are two alternative ways for fixes:
- detect the actual directionality (ignore any type of comments as <!-- foobar -->, pre, nowiki and mybe other tags)
- add a parameter about where to display the language skills (leftscreen or rightscreen; this is still tricky depending on the directionality of the content language)
- maybe there should be also an option about the side used to display the colors and the language codes