Talk:Manchu phrasebook

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

VFD discussion[edit]

The Manchu language is currently nearly extinct and the only native speakers are a few elderly people in the village of Sanjiazi, according to Wikipedia. And even in Sanjiazi, the native Manchu speakers are bilingual in Mandarin. The page states that there's a million second language speakers, but actually there's only a few thousand. So the language is of no use to the traveler. The page also states that like most other languages, attempts by outsiders to speak it are always appreciated. But it's difficult for travelers to even come across someone who knows the Manchu language. So I think this page should be deleted. SmileKat40 (talk) 07:28, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Delete or move off-site somewhere (same with the Ainu phrasebook). This is from w:Manchu language: "Currently, very few native Manchu speakers remain; in what used to be Manchuria virtually no one speaks the language, the entire area having been completely sinicized. As of 2007, the last native speakers of the language were thought to be 18 octogenarian residents of the village of Sanjiazi (Manchu: ᡳᠯᠠᠨ ᠪᠣᡠ᠋; Möllendorff: ilan boo; Abkai: ilan bou), in Fuyu County, in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province.[49] A few speakers also remain in Dawujia village in Aihui District of Heihe Prefecture." -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:11, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Delete as in the case of the Ainu phrasebook. Could also be moved to someone's userspace. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 13:56, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment The number of native speakers a language has is only one of many concerns that should drive the decision of whether we delete a phrasebook. Take Sanskrit phrasebook for example: when it comes to everyday usage, the language has been dead for centuries, but it's used often enough for cultural purposes that we've elected to keep it regardless. We don't have a Latin phrasebook or Old Church Slavonic phrasebook, but if we did and they were up for vfd, I would argue against deletion for similar reasons on the basis, respectively, of their usage in the Catholic Tridentine Mass and in the church services of various Eastern Orthodox faiths. The question as I see it is whether Manchu is still used for cultural purposes analogous to the above (religious or otherwise). If that's the case, I would oppose deletion (though perhaps we ought to be translating a different set of phrases than the standard one). -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:44, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  • That's not why we kept the Sanskrit phrasebook. The winning argument is summarized here, though it was made more specifically in the Vfd thread for the phrasebook:
  • In the 2011 census, 24,821 people out of about 1.21 billion reported Sanskrit to be their first language.[183][note 13][note 14] According to the 2011 national census of Nepal, 1,669 people use Sanskrit as their first language. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:28, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I stand corrected on that particular point, but I stand by the main thrust of my argument, i.e. that the "cultural importance" argument is a perfectly valid one to deploy for retaining a phrasebook for a language with few or no remaining native speakers. In the case of Sanskrit in particular, I doubt anyone would have been impressed enough with the statistic of ~25,000 speakers to change their vote to "keep" if not for the language's outsize cultural importance coloring their perception of its importance for travellers. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:04, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Wikivoyage is for the travelers, and not cultural scientists. And if we are in 300 years ago, where Manchu is commonly used, then sure, we can keep the phrasebook. But now, learning the Manchu language is no use to the traveler. Cultural scientists may need to learn the language, but again, Wikivoyage is for the travelers. SmileKat40 (talk) 23:21, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
@SmileKat40: Are you familiar with the region? If so, I think your knowledge is an important factor here. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 23:23, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Although I don't live in or had been to Manchuria, I know the language's current status by Wikipedia and other online sources. SmileKat40 (talk) 23:27, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
SmileKat40 - You misunderstand my argument, and you've got a lot of nerve trying to school me on what the scope of our site is; I've been around here for way longer than you have. Yes, Wikivoyage is for travellers, but "travellers" include people who might want to witness or partake in cultural ceremonies in the places they're travelling to, and many cultural ceremonies take place in languages that are no longer spoken for general purposes. Earlier I gave as examples the Catholic Tridentine Mass, which is held in Latin, and Russian Orthodox church services, held in Old Slavonic. It's certainly not unbelievable that a traveller attending such an event might want to learn a few words or phrases in one of those languages so they can follow what's going on. Other examples include Native American ceremonies which are often held in dead or dying tribal languages. I didn't give a "support" or "oppose" vote regarding the Manchu phrasebook because I don't know if Manchu falls into this same category of languages retained for cultural ceremonies or whatnot that might be of interest to travellers. But if it does, then the phrasebook ought not to be deleted. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:37, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
There's no need to be unkind. There's something I don't follow about this argument, though—how would phrases like "Nice to meet you" and "Where is the toilet" help travellers understand the kinds of highly ritualized ceremonies that use dead languages? —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:46, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
In just about all of Manchuria, Manchu ceremonies are given up. Even in Sanjiazi, they are in Chinese instead of Manchu because most of the people in Sanjiazi cannot speak Manchu. So there is no cultural use of the Manchu language for now and probably the next 10 years. SmileKat40 (talk) 23:54, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

[unindent]AndreCarrotflower, I told you that I was swayed by the argument that a phrasebook for a language with 20-something-thousand current-day speakers shouldn't be deleted. Until then, I was in favor of deletion, just as I would be in favor of deleting a phrasebook that presumes to teach people how to speak Latin. I think we'd do better to provide links for "teach-yourself-to-understand-Old Church Slavonic" and the like than to provide phrasebooks here, but if we are to provide such phrasebooks, they should be providing translations of ceremonial language only and shouldn't be teaching people how to say anything, only how to understand it when they hear the priest or whomever intoning it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:00, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Right. I think it would make more sense to frame an article like that as a travel topic ("Eastern Orthodox ceremonies" or something) rather than a phrasebook. It could explain the words/phrases used and outline other aspects of the ceremony all in one place. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:05, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
If we frame this like a travel topic, would there be any content? SmileKat40 (talk) 00:16, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't know, in this case. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:31, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, my point is about dead languages that still have liturgical use, not about Manchu. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:36, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I think I said above that if we were to have a phrasebook in a language like Latin or Old Church Slavonic that's only used liturgically or for other cultural ceremonies, the list of phrases should be tailored to what's used in those actual ceremonies rather than the standard ones in the normal-language phrasebooks. If this consideration applies to Manchu (which I am guessing it does not), the phrasebook would need to be substantially restructured. But that would not be the same as deleting it. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:21, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
A few thousand second-language speakers, mostly concentrated in one geographical area? Keep. According to Wikipedia, there are Manchu speakers in Hong Kong. What if a traveler wants to communicate with somebody who speaks Manchu and Cantonese significantly better than Mandarin? For that matter, a traveler may encounter those who speak both Mandarin and Manchu fluently, even in Manchuria. Manchu is much easier for English speakers to pronounce than either Cantonese or Mandarin. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 02:33, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
AndreCarrotflower, the phrasebook could also be moved somewhere off-site, if another site wants it. ARR8, I'm unpersuaded by your idea that we should have a phrasebook for a language because a few thousand people not in a significant number in any discrete area speak it as a second language. Also, although I guess as a musician, I might be biased, I was able to learn enough survival-level spoken Mandarin in 1987 just by listening to a cassette (remember those?) with a small accompanying phrasebook for a few weeks to be able to buy my own train tickets, check into a hotel or hostel, order food or buy a pair of pants (or change money on the black market in those days of FECs only for foreigners and Renminbi for everyone) and understand the price. People understood me enough, even though I hadn't yet mastered "[word], shenme shuo?" and wasn't understood in asking how to say something, because I used the wrong word order. I never tried to learn Cantonese because I wasn't in Hong Kong long enough and enough people spoke at least a little English there in those days, and I didn't visit Guangzhou except to change trains on the way from Beijing back to Hong Kong. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:57, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
"What if a traveler wants to communicate with somebody who speaks Manchu and Cantonese significantly better than Mandarin?" - with all due respect, this is really clutching at straws.
Manchu is a massively important language historically, and I can see 'language tourism' as a valid topic, but I'm not swayed by the potential to navigate an international city with a few score speakers of a niche language. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:29, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Keep - The Xibe dialect of Manchu is mutually intelligible and is spoken by 30,000 people far from Manchuria in Northwest China. See the Wikipedia article. Gizza (roam) 04:20, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Delete. I don't buy the idea that a traveler is going to wander around Dongbei or Hong Kong with a Manchu phrasebook on the 1/1000 chance (or less) that they happen to come across one of the few people who speak the language. A Xibe phrasebook is a fine idea, but that's not an argument for keeping this phrasebook as far as I can tell. —Granger (talk · contribs) 04:48, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Is there anyone who speaks Manchu and no other language? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 14:15, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
    The Wikipedia article quoted above says the only native speakers left are some villagers who were in their 80s in 2007. Those villagers' children are evidently not native Manchu speakers, so it stands to reason that the octogenarians must speak some other language too, presumably the local dialect of Chinese. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:03, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
Per User:DaGizza above, I would like to propose an alternative to deletion if the nomination succeeds. Since Manchu is mutually intelligible with Xibe, but Xibe is less-studied, and no knowledgable contributor has yet created a Xibe phrasebook, we could move this article to that name with a style tag saying the phrases came from a Manchu phrasebook, and may need some adjustment. Perhaps that will motivate someone to make the changes needed, as the barrier for conribution is smaller there than the creation of an entirely new phrasebook; and that way, we can reuse the information here to serve travelers. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 00:25, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep. Nobody has presented any suggestion that a traveller is unlikely to hear Manchu if he visits the area. The number of monolingual speaker is irrelevant, if there is a village hall which has monthly concert in Manchu. I often visit the Outer Hebrides, where there are now no monolingual speakers of Scottish Gaelic, but the language is used by many as a second language - concerts and church services have items in Gaelic, some locals use Gaelic in conversations among themselves, but all business can be done in English. I don't need a phrasebook, but it enhances a visit to the islands. AlasdairW (talk) 20:48, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, AlasdairW. That's precisely the argument I was trying to make, albeit less clearly worded than yours. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:34, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@AlasdairW: Let me say it for you then: A traveller is very unlikely to hear Manchu if he or she visits the area. Manchuria (now Dongbei) has been completely sinicized; native speakers are virtually gone and the few non-native speakers are geographically dispersed. Baidu Baike (Wikipedia's main competitor in China) says "现在满语仅限研究领域使用。" ("Manchu is now limited to research use.") I fully agree with your argument in the case of Scottish Gaelic, but the situation with Manchu is completely different. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:39, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for looking that out. I have not changed my mind yet, but that is starting to swing it. AlasdairW (talk) 22:14, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
I am not sure Baidu Baike is a good source on minority languages in China. There is a reason it is favoured by the government, and Chinese politics concerning minority languages is not very supportive. The information may be true, but I wouldn't trust it. --LPfi (talk) 10:22, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • To be clear, my "delete" vote is a "weak delete" for now; that's not intended to be any offense toward Granger's excellent defense of his position on the matter. However, with the current level of support in favor of keeping, for now, especially with my lack of knowledge of the area, I don't want to be an important player in this discussion. It's likely that with time my position will become firmer, but as it currently stands I don't feel like taking a strong position on a language I do not know in an area I do not know. Again, no offense to those who support deleting the article. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:52, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Weak keep. We have phrasebooks for so many languages that virtually nobody is a monolingual speaker of. Virtually every speaker of Maori, Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic is also able to speak English, and you will never need to learn those languages in order to get by but we still have those phrasebooks. But still, I'm sure a native speaker of those languages will be happy if you try their language even if they are able to speak English. The dog2 (talk) 23:35, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
    If the criterion is that there need to be enough monolingual speakers, then we should delete not only Gaelic & al, but also the German, Swedish and Finnish phrasebooks. I suppose the question should be whether I am likely to meet somebody that I might understand would appreciate a "hello" in that language, native speaker or not. Then we have the points about cultural significance, which are more convoluted. I don't know the situation, so I have no firm opinion. --LPfi (talk) 10:32, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that our criterion shouldn't be only that there are monolingual speakers, though native speakers would be a more relevant one. But I want to push back against the examples you're giving for your argument. There are plenty of people who speak German and not English. Picking up a working knowledge of spoken German was very important for me during stays in Germany, even in Berlin. And for that matter, people say you don't need to learn any Dutch if you're visiting Amsterdam, but during a long weekend there (Thursday to Monday), I met 5 people who spoke Dutch but not English, including a young counterman in a gelateria who also didn't know Italian. I managed to communicate with him sufficiently, but it was difficult. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:07, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
  • For that matter, I remember sitting next to a Danish woman on a flight from Singapore to Australia, and she only spoke Danish but not English. To be fair, she was elderly, so it may well be true that you are unlikely to meet a young adult Dane who does not speak English. But yes, overall I think that if a language has some cultural relevance, we can keep it. If someone wanted to create a phrasebook for "dead" languages like Latin, Classical Greek, Coptic or Biblical Hebrew, I wouldn't be opposed to that since learning those languages can enrich a traveller's cultural experience when they visit religious sites. Old Norse is kind of pushing it, since it's not used apart from ancient literature, though I would admit it is culturally relevant for people interested in the Vikings. But I would say absolutely no to a phrasebook for a constructed language like Esperanto that hardly anyone speaks. The dog2 (talk) 18:10, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Correct. For dead or moribund languages, the existence and persistence of an associated culture is the paramount consideration. To the extent that Esperanto culture exists, it's a contrived, inorganic culture in the same way Esperanto itself is a contrived and inorganic language. People spoke Latin once upon a time, and the culture associated with it is so rich and vibrant that it's the basis of our current Featured Travel Topic. I'd welcome a Latin phrasebook on Wikivoyage. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:44, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I would respectfully disagree with that characterization of Esperanto culture (and the allegation that hardly anyone speaks Esperanto; it has plenty more speakers than the languages under debate here). Rather than carving out an exception on the basis that Esperanto culture isn't real culture, I would say, if we need an exception within this "culture" "guideline," it would be that Esperanto culture, while it exists, is not associated with any particular geographical area, and so not useful to travelers. Regarding dead languages, a phrasebook is probably not appropriate - who would need to ask where the toilet is in Latin? I wouldn't support the creation of a dead language phrasebook using our usual template. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 23:10, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
It's already well established in this discussion that a phrasebook for a language like Latin should not use the usual template, but should be tailored to the types of phrases travellers of the here and now would encounter in their cultural explorations. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:23, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Esperanto is useful for limited travel purposes, for reasons that I explained in detail in the Esperanto phrasebook VFD discussion. And Andre, you're making sweeping statements about a culture you obviously don't know much about. You might be interested to know that some people learn Esperanto for the sake of experiencing Esperanto culture. w:Raumism has related information. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:33, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes the template for phrasebooks of classical languages would need to be radically altered. I would put Sanskrit in the same boat even though there is an attempted revival going on. Gizza (roam) 23:48, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I would agree with classifying Sanskrit as a classical language like Latin. I do not know of any native Sanskrit-speaking communities that exist today, but it is a very important language in Indian literature and for Hindu liturgy. As for Latin, you can still attend Latin masses, and the Pope always makes official announcements in Latin, so if you go to the Vatican listen to a Papal speech, that's where knowing Latin will come in handy. The dog2 (talk) 00:01, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

I quoted directly from the Wikipedia article about Sanskrit. there are over 25,000 people who report being native speakers of Sanskrit today. The fact that you don't know about these communities is immaterial, isn't it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:36, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I guess I was wrong then. In that case, Sanskrit can be kept as a regular phrasebook. The dog2 (talk) 04:24, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Only partly wrong. I think adding an additional section on sacred language would be fine. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:44, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Result: lack of clear consensus. However, per policy, after 21 days and no consensus, keep, so I am acting accordingly. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:35, 14 June 2019 (UTC)