Catalan speakers the 15th most productive Wikipedists

Congratulations on Catalan users for hitting 50,000 articles on Wikipedia. Although quantity isn’t everything–articles in English are almost invariably far better than in other languages–they’re way ahead of Arabic and Klingon speakers, to mention several. Just for fun I’ve taken data for the first fifty languages by articles published from Wikipedia’s multilingual statistics and total speaker population numbers from Ethnologue and used the simplest of spreadsheets (Gmail account needed; “live” excerpt below is done with iframe) to generate this new ranking showing which language’s speakers are publishing most articles per head:

Speaker numbers are naturally prone to uncertainty and wild fluctuation driven by political manipulation, and it’s reassuring to see that Ethnologue has got rid of 4 million fantasy Catalan speakers since David quoted its Generalitat-sourced numbers at me in 2004. The reasoning in the regional administration and stats service continues, however, to be that inventing speakers is a sensible way of achieving lobbying weight in Brussels with a view to bankrupting the EU via the translation and interpreting budget.

Ethnologue doesn’t give numbers for Norwegian’s main dialects, so I’ve generously allotted total Norwegian population numbers to both Nynorsk and BokmÃ¥l.

2M sounds like a lot of Esperantists to me, but lowering the number makes them even more ridiculously productive than they already are, particularly when you realise that Ido is not a misspelt West African language but an Esperanto variant.

How many people are capable of Simple English? I’ve put 3B, but 3 might be more accurate, and I’m afraid I’m not one of them.

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  1. Cool survey. 64 million French speakers, though–what? Ah, right, native speakers, and I see they’re being very conservative about who is a native speaker. What matters in Wikipedia is effective command, though, not native-speakerness.

  2. (I suppose I should give write permissions to the Googlesheet to Mr All and Ms Sundry. One of the reasons this shared number crunching stuff puts a baby smile on my face is that I spent fruitless days in the late 90s trying to get even relatively simple server-based MS Access things running. God, that was bad software.)

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