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I'm tempted to add a "usable" category between "complete" and "outline". There are a lot of phrasebooks here that have no content, just an outline, and then there are a bunch that have full pronunciation guides & most of the template translated, but with a few gaps. I think it would be useful to separate them. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 13:37, 25 March 2008 (EDT)

Plunge forward! I'd set the baseline for usable at pronunciation guide + all of the initial section translated. (WT-en) Jpatokal 04:42, 26 March 2008 (EDT)
Done. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 23:46, 27 March 2008 (EDT)

Category & List[edit]

I noticed there is this page, then there is also "Category:Phrasebooks". I'm not sure - do we need both? Could both prove useful? (WT-en) Army of me 16:44, 28 March 2009 (EDT)

I see zero reason to have the category duplicate an inferior version of what is here organized neatly. Basically we weren't using the category until you came along just now and added tags to a bunch of articles. I'm of half a mind to revert all that until a consensus is reached. (WT-en) Texugo 01:36, 28 March 2009 (EDT)
Yeah, adding the categories without discussing (or allowing the discussion to be concluded) is not really appropriate. I am for now going to revert these changes—it should be easy enough to undo this if we do indeed decide to use them. Please see Wikivoyage_talk:Categories#Revisited_-_when_are_categories_OK? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 01:49, 28 March 2009 (EDT)
That's fine with me, whatever is decided. I didn't create the category and only started adding the category tag to pages because I didn't know of the existence of the List of phrasebooks page yet (I thought I was being helpful). (WT-en) Army of me 16:44, 28 March 2009 (EDT)

phrasebook status[edit]

There seems to be an inconsistency in statuses between List of phrasebooks and Project:Phrasebook status: there's Complete/Outline/Stub in ListOf and a standard set of statuses in PhrbkStatus. Which of them should we stick to? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 05:07, 20 September 2009 (EDT)

Good point. I think it would be nice to switch to our standard article status system, described at Project:Phrasebook status. As of now, noone actually has tried to do the things required to make a phrasebook a star, since it's not too difficult to achieve that vague "complete" status. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 14:23, 20 September 2009 (EDT)

Telegu and Telugu[edit]

...seems to be the same language. One is under "usable", the other under "stubs". The main entry in ethnologue is Telugu ( (WT-en) Jummai 04:30, 3 March 2010 (EST)

Indeed, the Telegu phrasebook is actually just a redirect. I have removed it from this list. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 15:37, 3 March 2010 (EST)

Reorganize page structure[edit]

I found about 27 phrasebooks which were missing from this page and added them. Also moved existing books up if they had been improved from stub to outline or better, if they were now in the wrong group. This means we now have about 180. Ah, we've got about all, you may say. Well, the ISO standard 639-2 which lists the "major languages" has 484. And ISO 639-3, which tries to be more comprehensive, includes 7,918. No, we'll never have eight thousand phrasebooks, but the list will continue growing.

The current listing is arranged by status: complete, usable, outline, and stub. This makes sense for internal use, to see what is complete or what needs work. But for a traveler, it just means they have four lists to look through which might contain their desired language. Also, many of the languages are just plain obscure. Since many languages also have multiple names, locating a desired obscure phrasebook in a long list is made even harder, since you have to go to the phrasebook itself to see if maybe it is right.

I would suggest changing to a geographic breakdown of the list, by continent. This is the wikivoyage way. Put the phrasebook in the continent with which it is most identified. Of course, if we put French is France, Spanish in Spain, and English in England, that leaves North America with just Inuktitut, Greenlandic, and Haitian Creole. I would also suggest a "world" category for the nine most prevalent languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese. This would appear at the top of the list and would serve the needs of most users without looking any further. Because many languages cross borders, I'd suggest stopping at the continent level instead of trying to arrange by country within continent.

We may also want to add an asterisk by the books which are complete, and a note asking people to work on any of the others. We may also want to follow the phrasebook name with a list of other names for the language therein. For example, "Akeanon phrasebook (also Aklanon)" or "Fulfulde (also Adamawa, Fula, Pulaar)". Meanwhile, we can add appropriate redirect pages to the specific phrasebooks from their alternate names to improve direct access. (WT-en) Bill in STL 18:33, 10 August 2010 (EDT)

That makes sense. I would like to overhaul the status system as well, changing it to our standard outline, usable, guide, star system, and would be happy to help do so as part of the effort. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 19:22, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
Since you mentioned changes to status system, I had a couple of other questions about the phrasebooks themselves. I see that some phrasebooks include the phrase template, which says "Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.". Sometimes it is before the introductory paragraph, sometimes immediately after, sometimes down in the "Phrase list" section of the template. If we start adding it to template and stub level books, which place is preferred?
While we have a template to identify each other type of record, such as cityguide, parkguide, traveltopic, or intinerary, even continentguide, there is no "phrasebook" template, which makes it hard to find even correctly-coded phrasebooks. Should we have such a template to place on every phrasebook? (WT-en) Bill in STL 20:15, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
This isn't a huge deal, but could we also list the "World Languages" under their respective continents. It's a little duplication, but if someone goes straight to the continent, it's strange not to see them. (I did this and thought it was odd Japanese wasn't under Asia. Since it's basically only spoken in Japan, I didn't think of it as a "world language") (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 03:15, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
Japanese definitely isn't a world language, as it's only spoken in Japan. Italian is also not a "world" language, it's only spoken in Europe. If Italian is listed, then Dutch should be listed more since it's spoken in the Caribbean, Suriname, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa and Namibia. I think this is a good list to follow: [1]. I do agree that it's handy to have Japanese and Italian at the top there, but then they should also be listed under their continents. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 06:35, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
It might be most convenient to switch from "world languages" to most spoken languages. If we used the top 12, that would look pretty good (I think omitting Italian is OK). I agree that it's better to copy the top list to the continent lists, in case someone skips down.
Do people like what I'm doing with the color coded article status? I've basically done away with the stub classification, or at least color shaded it the same as outline, and am calling all "complete" phrasebook guides. It would be nice to come up with some star criteria to distinguish the very best. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 11:50, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
Ah, wait, I see we already have star criteria! --(WT-en) Peter Talk 11:57, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
I took my initial list as the top languages represented in the Library of Congress. But you are finding better sources. We have a number of separate Hindi and Malay phrasebooks, I don't think we want to list all of them as "world". We also have a number of languages from India, so not sure about including Bengali. The Ethnologue list admits that some of its listed languages groups together dialects which are not mutually understandable. I would suggest the "world" list include Dutch. I agree that the top list should also appear under the primary continent (so Spanish would appear in Europe, not North or South America).
I'm wondering if the color coding of status would be confusing to the casual reader.(WT-en) Bill in STL 12:30, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
Ah yeah, I meant to put in that color key, which is there now. I'm inclined to include languages such as Spanish (International) under all continents that have countries using it as an official or primary language. So Spanish would go into Europe and Latin America (where it is most widely used!).
On another note, I've nominated Russian phrasebook for star status, and would appreciate feedback! --(WT-en) Peter Talk 16:17, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
The color key looks good. Also the shorter width of the table. These really resolve my concern about the colors. I am adding alternate variations of language names to the Europe section; see if these help/hurt. On the request for new phrasebooks page, they ask for Bangla, but don't realize that we have it under the name Bengali. As long as we decide an appropriate limit for listing a language in multiple continents, I have no problem with doing it. Certainly Spanish in North and South America makes sense. Does this put French into North America for Quebec? The wikipedia:World languages page shows a map for each of the main languages, though interesting to see they include New York state as Russian speaking. You could probably argue for every Pacific rim language appearing in either Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Vancouver. Perhaps we limit multiple listings to continents where it is the "official" language of a country (or province/region?). (WT-en) Bill in STL 20:14, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
And I really like removing "phrasebook" from every line! (WT-en) Bill in STL 20:40, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
Well French would belong in North America because it's the official language of Haiti, right? (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 23:14, 13 August 2010 (EDT)
It's also spoken in Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe, among others. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 17:57, 14 August 2010 (EDT)

World Languages[edit]

I think the "World Languages" designation is problematic (as demonstrated by the above discussion), and would be better replaced by "Most spoken languages" or alternatively "Regional languages," which would mirror the list at Talk#Regional languages. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 16:17, 19 June 2011 (EDT)

If it's confusing, we could just get rid of that section altogether. The "List of Phrasebooks" is just meant as a place to show what phrasebooks we have and the continental break-up is pretty easy to use. I mean, it's just alphabetical order and languages spoken officially on multiple continents are listed in each place, so it shouldn't be difficult to find any of the languages. Also, someone looking for a specific language should be able to type it into the search to get it. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 01:11, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
No, I think the most likely languages should be up top. wikipedia:World language lists the best candidates: English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Portuguese. If we cut it down to those six, I expect we'll have fewer arguments. (WT-en) LtPowers 16:07, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
I prefer Peter's suggestion of hijacking the regional language map languages from the "Talk" article. That way it is clear what languages have been chosen and it shows that they are all at least somewhat "worldly", even if they are not the most likely, because I don't imagine Portuguese being particularly likely while I suspect Japanese is one of our most viewed, although it's not "worldly". The Wikipedia article seems rather poorly written, so I don't really want to rely on that as our base. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 02:19, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
I support Peter's suggested change as well, with a title of "Most spoken languages" or "International languages". (I would expect "Regional languages" to refer to things like Galician or Nahuatl, spoken only regionally within a country.) (WT-en) texugo 02:34, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
"Most spoken" languages would have to include Mandarin and Japanese, which strikes me as odd as they're largely limited to their native countries. The list at Wikipedia is not something they just made up; it's well sourced. (WT-en) LtPowers 08:25, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Adding Chinese and Japanese is definitely not odd, it would be odd not to include them. These are major countries that have worldly influence being the second and third largest economies of the world. Chinese is not only spoken in China, but is spoken by overseas communities worldwide and is a major language in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and many other countries in Asia. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 10:21, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Could be an argument for Japanese being odd as it is a largely insular language. But not so with Chinese for the reasons explained by Globe Trotter above - a very widely spoken language.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 10:27, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
I'd be fine with LtPowers' suggestion too. But... we'll have to actually pick one of these ideas! --(WT-en) Peter Talk 12:43, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
I wasn't actually suggesting Japanese remain on the list. I was just saying that the suggested list of 5 probably doesn't actually reflect the most viewed/searched phrasebooks. My vote is for the Talk Page list. Bringind it down to just 5 languages, to me, is a short step away from deleting the list. Might as well give it a little content if we are going to have it there. —The preceding comment was added by (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus (talkcontribs)
I disagree; I think short and sweet -- and based on reliable sources -- is the best route. (WT-en) LtPowers 21:49, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
If it's the exact same topic, why wouldn't we cover it the exact same way, i.e. with the map Peter pointed to...? (WT-en) texugo 22:13, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Wikipedia is not a 'reliable source' by any means, and that article is not among its best (or even among its okay articles). Aside from the hodge-podge of info at the beginning, most of the other headings contain very little information and much of the criteria it lists for "world languages" is completely irrelevant from a traveler's perspective. No one cares what languages international organizations use or that a language has prestige (which will inevitably be Eurocentric). Travelers are more concerned with what languages they may need to use on their trips through multiple countries and what phrasebooks they may want to buy, or languages to study. Our "Talk" map shows them that and each of those languages proves useful for the traveler. If we don't go with Peter's suggestion of the talk page, then I'd prefer to nix the whole 'world language' list altogether. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 23:47, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

*Bump*. Looking back at that WP article [2] again, I'd be pretty happy if we simply included all languages in the three lists, save Italian, the inclusion of which seems dubious... That would be:


I like Texugo's suggested title of International Languages. I know there are differing preferences in one direction or the other, but would this be an amenable compromise? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 19:53, 6 July 2011 (EDT)

So basically, you are simply suggesting we add Dutch and Indonesian/Malay to the list? That wouldn't bother me at all. We might as well add them to the map then, as well. I think having the map helps to prevent people from randomly adding other languages, because I doubt they'll be able to edit the map to add their add-on. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 22:30, 6 July 2011 (EDT)
"International language" is a misleading term since we're talking about national languages. Strictly speaking, only a language with no historical national ties (e.g. constructed languages) could be considered "international". Pikolas (talk) 21:07, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't follow. It seems to me, any language which is spoken in more than one country is international. For example, Arabic is either the only or one of the official languages of dozens of countries; same with Spanish. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:22, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

The International Phonetic Alphabet[edit]

Hey guys,

I was curious if the IPA will be useable in the phrasebooks. In any case, make some research and make soundclips, if necessary.

In terms of chaos,

Esther Brown

Saraiki phrasebook and Seraiki phrasebook[edit]

Does anyone know if Saraiki phrasebook and Seraiki phrasebook are the same language? In wikipedia, they have a redirect page to Saraiki from Seraiki. Our Seraiki prasebook is much more developed than the other. The Pakistan article links to Saraiki while regions of Pakistan link to Seraiki. Only Seraiki is listed on this page. If they are the same, they need a merge tag. Merge which to which? If they really are different then the second needs to be added here. --(WT-en) Bill in STL 18:23, 30 August 2010 (EDT)

Anyone have a response to this? Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:36, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
w:Saraiki dialect#Etymology says they are different Romanizations for the same name. It looks like Saraiki is the preferred spelling, and Google agrees to the tune of 2 million search results. --Peter Talk 06:48, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
So I guess they should be merged. How should that be handled? I think it would be logical to merge the smaller phrasebook into the larger one, and then rename the larger one. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:04, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
That sounds right. --Peter Talk 17:55, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Done. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:13, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Phrasebook category[edit]

At present we have a Category:Phrasebooks that is nominated for deletion, but current consensus seems to be to keep it. If we are going to keep it around then it would make sense to include it on phrasebooks, but since categories on Wikivoyage are typically included via templates it would make the most sense to either create a Template:Phrasebookguide or else to add the category to the existing phrasebook status templates such as Template:Guidephrasebook. Any thoughts, preferences, objections, inspirational quotations? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 19:59, 23 September 2010 (EDT)

Stub phrasebooks do not have any template except {{stub}}, so adding to the existing status templates would still leave some out. I'd like to see us use Template:Phrasebookguide. This is consistent with almost all other types of records. For example, we use cityguide to specify it is a city, and then an appropriate status template such as guidecity, usablecity, starcity, outline, or just stub to indicate its status. Two templates for each page. --(WT-en) Bill in STL 02:00, 24 September 2010 (EDT)
Calling it Template:Phrasebookguide is a little awkward, since the pages are phrasebooks, not guides to phrasebooks. But Template:Phrasebook is taken, so I don't have any better ideas. (WT-en) LtPowers 13:19, 24 September 2010 (EDT)
I'm fine with using Template:Phrasebookguide, although if there's a less awkward name then I'd be in favor. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 00:07, 25 September 2010 (EDT)
*bump* Any other comments? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 21:23, 25 September 2010 (EDT)
Template created. I think it makes sense to wait a day before starting to put it on phrasebooks in case someone sees the new template and then decides to object. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 21:34, 28 September 2010 (EDT)
All phrasebooks have been tagged with the new template. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 01:31, 30 September 2010 (EDT)

Constructed language phrasebooks[edit]

I wonder if there's a section of phrasebooks to add for constructed languages. Esperanto isn't the only one; besides, there are others such as Novial, Volapük, Interlingua, Interlingue-Occidental, Ido, Interglossa, Lojban, and Folkspraak. Anyone can turn to Omniglot, if they wish to. It's fascinating. p.s. Sorry about the IPA suggestion. Accept my apology. (WT-en) CurvyEthyl 20:10, 24 September 2010 (EDT)

Based on the fact that we have phrasebooks such as Australian English it seems like the bar for what warrants its own phrasebook is pretty low, so if there are others you think would be helpful then it might be best to just plunge forward and start on them. That said, I do think many of our phrasebooks are lacking in consistency and completeness - my understanding is that the Russian phrasebook is currently the best available, so if you're interested then it may be a better use of time to review that example and try to bring other existing phrasebooks up to higher standards. Similarly, the Russian phrasebook has been nominated for star status, so if you're willing to comment on that nomination it would help to define what a "complete" phrasebook looks like. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 00:31, 25 September 2010 (EDT)
My opinion is that there shouldn't be any phrasebooks for constructed languages. Phrasebooks are for aiding travelers. Constructed languages have very little if any use for travelers and would not fit with our goals & non-goals. (WT-en) AHeneen 16:51, 25 September 2010 (EDT)
Constructed languages can be quite useful as a common language, don't you think? (WT-en) LtPowers 14:15, 26 September 2010 (EDT)
That's the mantra of their supporters. In the world today, however, they remain of little value to travelers. (WT-en) AHeneen 21:07, 26 September 2010 (EDT)
I'm going to agree with AHeneen here. Your chances of going to a foreign country and bumping into someone who speaks Novial, Volpük, etc. are infinitesimally low. Next thing you know we'll be allowing Klingon and Elvish and Bork Bork Bork... You either learn those languages (and typically use them only at special meetings designed for that purpose) or you don't-- you certainly won't ever find yourself in a situation where you wish you had a phrasebook for them. (WT-en) Texugo 21:20, 26 September 2010 (EDT)
Well, the Washington Shakespeare Company is putting the Bard on in Klingon this month... ;) --(WT-en) Peter Talk 21:46, 26 September 2010 (EDT)
Well I was responding specifically to the assertion that the languages would have little use for travelers. I agree that the phrasebooks are probably not all that useful. An Esperanto phrasebook might be justifiable, but I don't think any of the other constructed languages are widespread enough to even consider. (WT-en) LtPowers 11:06, 27 September 2010 (EDT)
Personally, I don't think an Esperanto phrasebook is even worthwhile. If someone is going to take the time to purchase or print out a phrasebook for travel (or anything practical), it would be pretty assinine to choose Esperanto over a real language. What good would an Esperanto phrasebook do? Where in the world could you possibly go where it would be useful to ask for directions in Esperanto? Deal with the police in Esperanto? Do ANYTHING in Esperanto? It's useless! It'd be obnoxious and rude to go out and try to order dinner in Esperanto (although this is the sort of nerdy "let's pretend we're foreigners" sort of "adventure" I imagine it would be used for). It will only benefit you if the Esperanto word/phrase happens to be the same or close enough to the local language in which case it still leads one back to the question: What is an Esperanto phrasebook good for? If you want to communicate with people of a certain country, bring a phrasebook/dictionary for the language those people speak. You wouldn't bring a Twi phrasebook to Norway and you wouldn't bring an Esperanto phrasebook anywhere. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 01:59, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
I am inclined to agree with (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus.(WT-en) Texugo 02:11, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
I wouldn't want to presume too much. It's possible there may be a traveler who is more comfortable with the patterns and pronunciations of Esperanto (since the vocabulary is based on Romance languages) than they would be with a local language from another family. Certainly, it would not be something you wanted to count on in place of the local language phrasebook, but there are Esperanto speakers in nearly every major city worldwide, so it could be a useful supplement. (WT-en) LtPowers 21:50, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
I don't think it's presumptuous at all. A traveler who is not comfortable speaking the words can use a phrasebook by pointing. That's how most Westerners get by in Asia with phrasebooks. There are Swahili, Chinese, and Japanese speakers in most major world cities, too, but once again, why would anyone bring a Swahili phrasebook to New York City, a Chinese dictionary to Addis Ababa, or a Japanese phrasebook to Paris? Travelers just don't bring tons of phrasebooks just in case they happen to run into that one person in Oslo that speaks Twi. There are not enough Esperanto speakers in any country or city to warrant bringing an Esperanto phrasebook. I think it's a stretch to say it's useful for this sort of thing. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 21:20, 2 October 2010 (EDT)
Well, why don't you nominate it for deletion, then? Regardless of how useful you think it is, I see no need to actively remove a phrasebook we already have written; it harms nothing by being present and just might help someone. And the phrasebooks can be useful for more than just looking stuff up on the fly. (WT-en) LtPowers 14:53, 3 October 2010 (EDT)
Isn't this more of a policy-forming discussion, though? Whether or not we want to allow fabricated languages to have phrasebooks? If it is decided here that we want to permit them, there is no need to waste time voting to keep it. If it is decided here that we don't want them, it can be a speedy delete that refers to a policy, so we won't need a long debate. To me, it just seems that a language with no strong affiliations to any country, city, ethnic group, etc. doesn't have much use from a traveler's perspective. The Esperanto version of Wikivoyage makes sense, because it's about your own understanding and comprehension to best read about various locales, but since a travel phrasebook is about communicating with others, there need to be enough speakers somewhere in the world to warrant having the phrasebook. With Esperanto and other fabricated languages, I think you would have to actively seek out the speakers in order to communicate in the language. People who do that likely already know it and don't need a phrasebook (why seek out someone solely for the language they speak when you can't communicate with them?).
There seems to be some support for creating a policy against these languages, but I think it needs to be clearer. Can others (re)state their opinions, perhaps with Esperanto in mind, since there is so much discussion based around it? (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 00:28, 4 October 2010 (EDT)
I'm happy to leave Esperanto phrasebook alone as an exception, but create a policy against other constructed languages. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 18:20, 4 October 2010 (EDT)
Exactly what reasoning is there behind keeping it aside from the fact that the article currently exists and that keeping it does no harm? We have deleted many articles that fall into these categories before, and these arguments could be made for any phrasebook. Is there a reason that relates to why we have phrasebooks on Wikivoyage? If we are going to make a policy and tag on an exception, we should have a reason for the exception. What makes Esperanto any different from a traveler's perspective than any of the other fabricated languages? (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 23:14, 4 October 2010 (EDT)
Esperanto was created for the purpose of international communication, which is what our phrasebooks are about—it has more legitimacy than Klingon. Yes, an Esperanto phrasebook is not the most helpful tool for travelers out there, but we have phrasebooks of far less utility out there. Esperanto seems like an acceptable exception. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 13:37, 7 October 2010 (EDT)
Every language is fabricated — some more recently and orderly than others. The criteria for inclusion could revolve around whether there are native speakers of the language. Esperanto has at least a thousand native speakers, according to WP; Klingon has none. (WT-en) Gorilla Jones 18:51, 7 October 2010 (EDT)
I think everyone knows that Esperanto is "fabricated" in a different way than real world languages, which were not formed by Eurocentric linguists or creators of fantasy worlds and creatures. The Isle of Man language at least has a home (aka: a place where it is spoken/used). The Isle of Man language, in that regard, is still way more useful than Esperanto. Esperanto doesn't seem far from Klingon in its usefulness. In order to use it, you really have to actively seek out people who speak it. If you need a phrasebook to communicate with them, then there's no point in trying to find them, because they are not like an ethnic group; they're just Americans, Brits, etc. that are the same as everyone else except that they've wasted time learning Esperanto. The language is the only distinguishing factor, so why go to them just to use a phrasebook? I think all of our phrasebooks should have concrete connections to a real location where we can say you are likely to find people who speak it in such numbers that it would make sense to bring a phrasebook (aside from the internet, which is where Esperanto is predominantly found/used.). (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 19:53, 7 October 2010 (EDT)
Not sure where you're getting that claim about Esperanto existing mostly on the Internet — see Wikipedia, which describes a number of its "concrete connections to a real location" over the course of 120+ years. (WT-en) Gorilla Jones 11:18, 10 October 2010 (EDT)
Most Esperanto speakers do use it mainly on the internet. That's why speakers have to form "societies" where they can speak it; because not enough real people speak it to make it useful in daily life, and the link proves moreso that it does NOT have any real geographical stronghold where it is spoken in any large number, unless you honestly believe that "somewhere in Eurasia" is concrete enough to stick a pin on the map. It's not as though there is any place where you'll find people who speak Esperanto but NOT any other language, like the local language that you should have brought a phrasebook for. This is not a language that anyone would/could use anywhere for any sort of practical travel and no points have been made here to say otherwise. It is laughable for someone to bring an Esperanto phrasebook anywhere with any real thoughts of needing to use it (or even being able to use it). (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 19:51, 10 October 2010 (EDT)

I think we may be getting bogged down with something not terribly important. I sort of figured keeping the existing Esperanto phrasebook (especially in light of the fact that there is an Esperanto Wikivoyage!), but otherwise ruling out the more silly or obscure constructed languages would be an OK compromise for us to move forward with a new consensus. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 20:36, 10 October 2010 (EDT)

It seems reasonable to me. (WT-en) LtPowers 06:33, 18 October 2010 (EDT)
What if there are enough contributors who want to start a language version in another fake language? Will we also accommodate them with a phrasebook? We still don't really have a reason why Esperanto is NOT a "silly language" and every other constructed language is. Wikivoyage language versions are personal, so a Lingua Franca Nova version of Wikivoyage would not burden anyone but the reader. A phrasebook is used to communicate with others, so Lingua Franca Nova and Esperanto phrasebooks are equally burdensome/useless for travel. It just seems easier to say "constructed languages have no practical purposes in the real world for travelers in any country or region, so we don't create such phrasebooks on Wikivoyage." and it's a lot more travel-oriented and in-line with our goals than, "We don't create phrasebooks for constructed languages unless and until contributors open a new language version in that language." (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 17:57, 18 October 2010 (EDT)
Esperanto has by far the largest base of native speakers among constructed languages. (WT-en) LtPowers 18:09, 20 October 2010 (EDT)
Wikipedia has other constructed language versions, which means that we could very well have them, too. The number of speakers of Esperanto remains negligible, considering they're so spread out, and "more among constructed languages" is really just more than very few. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 13:55, 21 October 2010 (EDT)
You asked for a reason to keep Esperanto while ruling out the others. The disparity in number of native speakers is good enough for me. (WT-en) LtPowers 21:47, 22 October 2010 (EDT)
Fair enough, but there still isn't a travel-related reason, which is why I don't see why it is necessary. It just seems as though a few people have a special love of this language. Are you suggesting we establish a 200 native-speaker minimum on artificial languages just for Esperanto? (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 05:04, 23 October 2010 (EDT)

Transition of Philippine languages from Oceania to Asia[edit]

I'm just new here and my English isn't that good so pardon me for grammatical mistakes. The Philippines is not in Oceania. They are located in Southeast Asia hence Philippine languages should be included in the Asian languages. Oceanian languages are indeed related to Filipino, Ilocano, Cebuano, Malay, Indonesian, the native languages of Taiwan and Malagasy (language spoken in Madagascar) but we're talking about geography here. (WT-en) Gxysgdao 20:37, 26 August 2011 (MDT)

Agreed. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 00:12, 27 August 2011 (EDT)

List of....[edit]

I wonder why this page (and the Itineraries page) is called "List of phrasebooks" and not just "Phrasebooks"? It's now a part of the menu, so I think just "Phrasebooks" and "Itineraries" should be fine. --Globe-trotter (talk) 03:16, 26 September 2012 (CEST)

Phrasebookguide template[edit]

As all phrasebooks now have a status tag , such as {{Outlinephrasebook}}, any objections if {{Phrasebookguide}} was removed from articles and Category:Phrasebooks being populated by the four status tags? (Actual 3 are stubs and 4 with status tags have no Phrasebookguide tag). This would then make it constant with the location article tags and reduce one more tag to keep correct on pages. --Traveler100 (talk) 08:24, 26 March 2013 (UTC)


It would be nice to make these lists sortable by either status or alphabetical order. Is there a good way to do that? Also, it would be pretty cool if we could put the lists side by side, instead of having to scroll down through these long sections (while still maintaining the two sort options). --Peter Talk 17:55, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

m:Help:Sorting. LtPowers (talk) 19:43, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
I think what I was envisioning is not possible. If going for a sortable table of that sort, I'm thinking something like this:
Name Status Geography
Afrikaans Usable Africa
Arabic (Modern Standard) Usable Africa
Amharic Outline Africa
But is there a way to apply the background style to a whole row (without repeating it for each cell)? It would be nice to highlight the whole row with the status color. --Peter Talk 21:24, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
You could create a little dedicated template at Phrasebooks/row and then call it with
and have that generate the code for the rows for you, automatically assigning colors to each cell based on a switch. Texugo (talk) 21:45, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Peter, what were you envisioning? Almost anything is possible; it's just a question of how difficult it would be. LtPowers (talk) 00:01, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I was envisioning a table with a column for each continent. Each cell would have a language name, with a bgcolor according to its status. Columns would be sortable by either name or status. Basically, it would be one cell per language name, rather than three as in the example above. --Peter Talk 06:42, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I see! You'd probably have to code up some custom javascript to get that to work; the built-in (to MediaWiki) sortable table schema only allows sorting on the cell contents, not other properties simultaneously. LtPowers (talk) 19:52, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Little Free Phrasebook Libraries?[edit]

Any takers on the concept of the Little Free Library? That could complement the understand and respect sections of every travel guide! --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 01:58, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

How so? The Little Free Libraries are small physical structures holding books for people to borrow and exchange. What does that have to do with our travel guides? LtPowers (talk) 02:09, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
If the little free libraries have all the local color that travellers desire (along with the necessary phrasebooks and maps and leaflets, if needed), that would be an ingenious combination if travel agencies are aware of them? --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 03:50, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Organise categories?[edit]

Although all languages should be valued, I can't help feeling that this page is too complex to help the traveler. It lists a lot of languages such as Esperanto which although I do not object to being in WV, is still not particularly relevant for travelers. Also listing 'German' as a relevant language for Africa is really stretching things a bit. (Yes, there are a few small communities where it is spoken, but it is very edge case to say you would desperately need to speak German there)

Could we reorganise with a 'main languages' section, and a 'minority language' section for those who are interested? Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:27, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Sign languages[edit]

Iirc, some peoples can't say anything with his/her mouth, and if I had forgot my notebook, then I'll have to use my hands to "say" these phrases. Thus, a phrasebook for sign language would likely useful. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 05:30, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

There are dozens of sign languages around the world, so it would require dozens of phrasebooks, none of which would be able to follow our usual format, and all of which would require enhanced multimedia: minimally extensive use of pictures and possibly even video. That's a tall order for extremely limited benefit. Powers (talk) 00:10, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Not to mention the fact that you would pretty much never find yourself in a situation to use most travel phrasebook phrases in sign language in the real world. When would you ever need to use sign language to order food in a restaurant, ask questions about hotel rooms, ask a stranger what time it is, or get yourself out of a fix with the cops? Totally impractical for travel anywhere. Texugo (talk) 01:10, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

Collaboration with Wikipedia users[edit]

Hi, quite a lot of these phrasebooks aren't that complete, and some don't even have the first section filled out (Sesotho phrasebook). Seeing that if someone here knew these languages, they would have plunged forward and filled them in, should we ask Wikipedia users who know these languages to help contribute? See w:Category:User st (category of Wikipedia users who speak Sesotho), could we contact some of them and ask if they're willing to contribute to the phrasebook? Thanks.  Seagull123  Φ  13:41, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Yes Why not? We're all in this together, so it's hardly spamming. Note that you can also check out w:st:Category:User en (that category doesn't presently exist but the principle holds for other potential user language categories). —Justin (koavf)TCM 14:37, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea. A single, friendly notice to a limited number of users who might be able to help doesn't seem like spamming at all. JuliasTravels (talk) 15:34, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

@JuliasTravels, Koavf: Is there a particular phrasebook we would start with? I would suggest one which is a relatively useful one but is still an outline... maybe the Bengali phrasebook or the Portuguese phrasebook (both are in the World section of the phrasebook list).  Seagull123  Φ  15:48, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Sure, but I must admit I haven't worked on our phrasebooks all that much. When we invite new users to contribute, it should be clear what we would like them to do. The Portuguese book, for example, has all the sentences translated. What do we need for it? Other sentences? Is there are fixed set? Do the translations need to be checked? Also, I wonder if it would make sense to just post in the Pub on Portuguese Wikipedia, instead of write to individual editors? JuliasTravels (talk) 15:54, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
JuliasTravels, I just put the Portuguese one there because it's currently listed as an outline, and as it's in the world section, I thought it could be of a better standard. I think that it's still an outline because further down the list, it's just got the Portuguese phrase without a pronunciation. In regards to where we ask, do you mean here? (Portuguese village pump) or here (Portuguese traveller's pub). I think writing to some Portuguese speaking contributors on English Wikipedia is better, as they will have a better understanding of English (having already contributed to an English wiki) and on Portuguese wiki, they might not speak English at all.  Seagull123  Φ  16:21, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Sure, it makes sense to start with the most important ones, so Portuguese is a good choice. I just meant that we should specify what kind of help we need, because it is not so obvious from looking at the article, if you're not familiar with phrasebooks. You make a good point about the users. JuliasTravels (talk) 16:33, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
OK, that's a good idea, we could say something like "can you help add pronunciations to the phrases on the page and check whether the phrases are correct".  Seagull123  Φ  16:39, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Also, I've made a bit of a example message to invite people here to help with phrasebooks, it's here, edit it if you want, please make it better!  Seagull123  Φ  17:06, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

I've (finally) found two editors who have both edited recently and are able to speak/translate Portuguese. They are: w:User:Rui Gabriel Correia and w:User:Callmemirela. If no one objects, I'll send them a message (based on the one I've written here) later today.  Seagull123  Φ  17:53, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

If you're seeking discussion, it's probably a good idea to wait just a bit more than (half) a day. There's no rush, maybe give others a chance to weigh in? JuliasTravels (talk) 19:11, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth work is already being done on Portuguese phrasebook. —Justin (koavf)TCM 07:10, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

Adding soundbites[edit]

I think it would be a good idea to add recorded sound clips of the sentences, so that phrasebook users can recognise them as they are spoken. Also useful in getting the pronunciation right. What do you think? Pikolas (talk) 14:08, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

I agree but, unfortunately, previous discussions have never resulted in a consensus to allow these. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:44, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

pronunciation samples[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I was just looking at the Dutch phrasebook and realised that some of the pronunciation explanations are quite confusing. Some phonemes simply don't exist in English. Perfect pronunciation is not a goal of a phrasebook, but it's hard to explain a sound even by approximation, if it doesn't exist in English. Commons has a wide range or pronunciation files. Using them seems just as straightforward for the traveller as giving a somewhat similar explanation in English, and much more accurate. Do we have any policy on using them? If using them is okay, what's the best way to do it? I tried one in Dutch_phrasebook#Pronunciation but because we don't have the template here, it sits on the next line instead of on the same one.. Any thoughts? JuliasTravels (talk) 8 February 2016 (UTC)

We have had a similar discussion at talk:German phrasebook which unfortunately did not result in much getting done. A similar thing happened at talk:Spanish phrasebook a while later. I still like the idea. Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:00, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Policy is not to use audio files until we can gain a consensus to use them, and then presumably to set some sort of standards. I suggest that a first step would be to gain approval for an experiment on a single phrasebook. Powers (talk) 01:28, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
This is a bit of a tangent, but I think that the "experiment on a single page" idea is not so good. Sometimes an idea works brilliantly on one (cherry-picked) page, but its faults become apparent when you expand it to others. I think that five or ten should be considered a minimum size for a useful experiment. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:57, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
We're talking about an exceptionally large task, here, and one for which no single person is likely to be able to contribute to more than one phrasebook. What is the value in granting license for you to add audio to multiple phrasebooks when, by necessity, you would have to pick one to start with anyway? Powers (talk) 03:00, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure that adding dozens of pre-existing audio files (many of these phrases already exist for common languages) to a page is truly an "exceptionally large" task, and even a subset might be enough to show the idea, but I'm speaking of the general case. Testing any idea on one page out of the current 27,180 articles doesn't show you whether the idea works in general; it really only tells you whether your current implementation works on the one selected page. This is valuable (for example, if it doesn't work well on any one page, then by definition it will not work well on all of them), but it is seriously insufficient (for example, that might be the only page in the entire project that your idea really works well on).
Also, it might be useful to test different approaches to the same general idea, which probably requires using multiple pages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:54, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Let's not kill the main idea and discussion by focusing on theoretical problems in the testing phase :) I understand the concerns but I don't think this has ever been a problem in practice. A single test article seems quite fine as a starting point since our phrasebooks are all very similar and we'll first need to test some basics anyway. We can go from there, if it turns out to be insufficient. Reading the discussion on the German phrasebook talkpage, there seems to be plenty of support for an experiment, so let's just get started and discuss concrete issues as we encounter them. Let's talk about the visualisation first. Then we can set up an example. I know of these options so far:
  • 1 : eins (Lautsprecherbild ighnss
  • 2 : zwei
The first one takes you to a different page, which seems less ideal when using the the phrasebook. The second one is much bigger though, and I'm not sure how to get it on the same line. Any other ideas? JuliasTravels (talk) 16:01, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

I would prefer the smaller symbol as immediately clickable, i.e. producing the sound without taking the user to a different page first. How do we implement this on mobile though? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:27, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

JuliasTravels's first example is problematic, because there are two clickable links. I would prefer:
  • eins [aɪ̯ns] 🔊
where I have used the Unicode speaker symbol, instead of our image. But that's still problematic, as Hobbitschuster has pointed out, so I might prefer:
  • eins [aɪ̯ns]
if only we had some way to make the image display on the same line as the preceding text. Providing both IPA pronunciation and an audio link is much better than trying to re-invent pronunciation representation schemes, as we have so ignominiously done at, e.g., Spanish phrasebook. Peter Chastain (talk) 04:58, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
The {{audio-pron}} template, at Wiktionary, puts the image inline, as seen here. The image is still a bit larger than I would prefer, but if we adapted the template for use here, we could change that. Peter Chastain (talk) 06:14, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
IPA and audio recordings are the only unambiguous general ways to represent speech in another language; we should provide both wherever they are useful. If possible, the audio link should go directly to sound, not to another web page.
In some cases, I think including Spanish, the written form of a language may also be unambiguous once a few rules are learned. For those (or at least the ones in a latin alphabet), we can minimize the use of both IPA and audio, rely more on the written form. This does imply that phrasebooks for such languages should cover the necessary rules.
In general, attempts to represent foreign sounds with English-based examples are doomed from the start. One problem is that some sounds (the round front vowels in French, the velar consonants in German, Persian, ...) are almost impossible to represent that way. Another is that different English speakers pronounce various things quite differently. In general, I'd say the sooner we can get rid of all such attempts, the better.
Would an expedition to fix these problems be worthwhile? It looks like a big enough task to justify such an effort. Pashley (talk) 06:38, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
First: I'd rather the audio samples be in the article, not external links that require migrating away from the page. Secondly, on an expedition: Yes, this would be worth the effort, but only if the work won't go to waste because of opposition to this kind of change. Allowing audio samples is a policy change. So I think we should make sure that people who have previously objected won't stand in the way before taking on this project. If we know they would not support this no matter what, that would be unfortunate but also a time-saver for editors. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:52, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Well iirc there was some opposition towards replacing the current system with IPA and there might be people who argue against adding too many different types of pronunciation aid. That said I think we should proceed. Probably specifically asking those who expressed concern to eliminate any misunderstandings and avoid mistakes is a good way forward. If we cannot gain consensus that would indeed be unfortunate, but if we know that beforehand, we can spare us a lot of effort and frustration. Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:58, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I completely agree with Ikan; audio samples should be in the article. Clicking on one should give a sound but have no visible effect except perhaps a change of icon colour.
Problems with IPA are that many people do not know it and some computer systems may lack the fonts to display it correctly. Despite those, WP and more-or-less all dictionaries use it. I'd say we should too; it is the only way to display pronunciation on the screen or page that works for any language. Pashley (talk) 16:19, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia and dictionaries have different goals than our phrasebooks do. We're not trying to document accurate pronunciations; we're trying to provide a quick way for an English speaker to say a line and have it more-or-less understood. Powers (talk) 02:45, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
If our only choices were between IPA and something else, I would probably agree with you: IPA is difficult to learn and understand. Audio is very easy, and after hearing a few clips, the traveller probably won't have to listen to them all. And yes, I would also use IPA, because our pseudo-English transliterations are unteneble, as the discussions at Spanish phrasebook demonstrate. Peter Chastain (talk) 00:05, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Talk:Phrasebooks would probably be a better place for development of this proposal. Powers (talk) 02:45, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
We can decamp there, but would you please indicate whether you would be against any use of audio samples for phrasebooks? It would appear that quite a number of us believe those are the best ways to help English speakers say something in a way that could be understood, and much clearer, especially for certain languages, than attempts at pseudo-pronunciations. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:55, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Let's keep the momentum and broader input we have here, for now.. We can move the discussion there later. I completely agree that the main goal is to give a simple and quick way for travellers to communicate. That's exactly why the use of sound makes sense.
  • For a traveller, a sound version is much easier to imitate and gives a much better chance of being understood than any kind of transliteration. It's especially true for languages that are less related to English (like Chinese or Arabic). For the Dutch phrasebook, I'd expect pronunciations to be rather off but understandable. For Arabic phrases, however, I dare say that many English native speakers, especially those who have limited experience with foreign languages, would probably get the pronunciation so wrong that they wouldn't be understood.
  • A huge number of our users have learned English as a second language. In fact, there are more speakers of English as a second language, than native English speakers in the world. We all know that millions of those second-language speakers have issues in their pronunciation, varying from slight accents to serious mistakes. Passive understanding is typically better than active speech. Even if we come up with a transliteration that gives a reasonably understandable pronunciation when used by a native speaker, it might generate completely different sounds when applied by someone with a heavy Indian, Chinese or Russian accent. If we have a solution that might overcome this issue, it seems silly not to use it.
  • For many people, using phrases in a foreign language that they don't know or understand otherwise can be daunting. Especially with the increasing numbers of areas where you can simply be online (I have been online for at least 75% of my travels in the past 3 years), and with the future being downloads on devices rather than paper prints, future spoken versions could offer the option to play complete sentences. One might even wonder if, should we not offer it, Google translate will make our phrasebooks completely obsolete in a few years. Being completely honest, that's one of the reasons why I haven't ever put any effort in our phrasebooks.
Any ideas about how to get the speaker/player on the same line as the text? JuliasTravels (talk) 13:14, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
The {{audio-pron}} template, at Wiktionary, does just that. I cannot show this here, without importing the template, but you can see an example in my sandbox there. The image is still a bit larger than I would prefer, but if we adapted the template for use here, we could change that. Peter Chastain (talk) 13:25, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

See also:

Presumably there are more; this is something that many projects would benefit from. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:18, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

I think the most important thing is that something gets done. The status quo is untenbale. Do you know anybody who has actually used our legacy "phonetic" English? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:57, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
I largely understand them (the system was designed for native speakers of American English, after all), but I've never tried to use them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:39, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
@Peter Chastain; if you know your way around templates, it would be useful if you could import it here (on an experimental base for now, of course). If that turns out to work well, we can create a test article to discuss if it would be acceptable on a larger scale. JuliasTravels (talk) 21:41, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, phab:T5726 (a simple loudspeaker icon that you can click for audio) would be great. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of {{audio-pron}}, but maybe we don't them. I see you are a WMF community liaison and have been involved in this phab request. Is it your sense that this might actually get done? Peter Chastain (talk) 04:12, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
JuliasTravels, I am very much a novice at template writing but would love to take a stab, especially if nobody is in a hurry and if a template expert were willing to hold my hand, perhaps in a real-time chat like IRC. But first, we should decide what we want. (Hence my comments to WhatamIdoing: If WMF is developing what we want, we should wait for it instead.) {{audio-pron}} calls other templates, which in turn call other templates, but we might not need them all. I think an administrator needs to import them, along with the edit history, to meet the attribution requirement of our Creative Commons license. Peter Chastain (talk) 04:12, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't expect the WMF to do anything about this in the next six months, and probably not this year. If you'd like, I can ask around and see if my estimate is correct. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:11, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
That's too bad then. We seem a stuck :-) I do believe audiofiles is the way to go, but if we can't find a proper way to display them, I don't see how we can make a good test article. JuliasTravels (talk) 22:07, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

Suggestion: adding prominent slang and swear words to the Arabic phrasebook and to all the other phrasebooks[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Most travelers whom get to experience a new culture, usually also are exposed to the various commonly used slang words, as well as, in many cases common swear words (which one better be aware of for the instances in which one is offended by the locals).

For this reason, at the Hebrew Wikivoyage we started adding a prominent slang and swear words section at the bottom of each phrasebook.

For example, the following phrasebook currently appears at the Arabic phrasebook of the Hebrew Wikivoyage (I translated the Hebrew parts to English):

Prominent Arabic slang and swear words[edit]

While the slang words and the offensive swear words in the following list are quite common in the discourse of the Arabic-speaking youth, it is important to emphasize that many of these words are generally considered offensive, especially among Arabic-speaking adults. While you may want to refrain from using the offensive words in this list, you might want to be aware of them during your trip as in some instances, that information might help you know when locals are trying to insult you.

English Arabic English transliteration
Dick  ? Zib / Zibi
Stupid  ? Mahabul / Ahabal
Stupid  ? Dba
Stupid  ? Hmar
Donkey, stupid  ? Jachsh
Disgusting  ? Eichs, Jora
Old person  ? Hatiar
I know nothing about it / I do not know أَنَا عَارِف Ana Aref?
Bummer  ? Ba'asa
For real  ? Ashkara
Beware!  ? Dir Balak!
You dog  ? Ya Kalb
Bitch, whore شرموطة Sharmouta
Bitch, whore شرموطة Kachba
Your mother's vagina شرموطة Kos Emek
Uncivilized person شرموطة Ars
Motherfucker يا ابن الشرموطة Ya Ibn el Sharmouta
Kiss my ass الحس طيزي Tel-has Tee-ze
I hope your house would be destroyed  ? Yakhrab Baytak
Oh my god!  ? Yaa Raabi! / Ya Alla!
Godforsaken place  ? Tizinabi
Very good, excellent  ? Sababa
Congratulations, well done  ? Sahtein

Would you support adding these types of sections to the English Wikivoyage as well? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 18:38, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Frankly, no. I don't think it's a great idea at all. It's of course possible that people encounter these words, but that's true for hundreds of other common words and expressions too. I've travelled quite a bit in Arabic speaking countries and I know quite a bit of Arabic too (including some of these words). I don't have the impression that people use them a lot towards tourists; I don't think they ever did so to address me. It seems absolute overkill to include such an extensive list of bad language. It would give a completely wrong impression of the language and attitude people are likely to encounter when visiting the Arabic speaking countries, imho. By the way, the translation of "I don't know" is missing لا. It now means "I know" instead of "I don't know". JuliasTravels (talk) 19:55, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I understand. In my opinion though, at the very least we should consider having a section for only the most commonly used prominent slang words that are relevant to tourists.
By the way, the "I don't know" sentence, is actually said like that and pronounced like a question - "Ana Aref?", and sometimes people say that with their shoulders up, to indicate one really know nothing about the question one is asked (it is somewhat similar to saying "do you really mistake me for an expert on that subject?". ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 20:06, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I think trying to document the full range of slang can easily become a fool's errand. I know nothing of Arabic except for the fact that "yalla" has entered German slang among certain groups, but judging from the languages I do know, slang is in too fast a Flux and too different regionally for us to even attempt it. The word tuani(s) that is rather common in Nicaragua for instance is unlikely to be understood by a Mexican. Most school books on the learning of languages do not provide "bad words" yet by some miraculous intellectual osmosis even the laziest students can list George Carlin's "dirty words" after hardly half a year of learning English. We might wish to point out common pitfalls (like "coger" which means "take" in Spain and something else entirely in other places) but we should not strive to become urban dictionary of a hundred and fifty languages. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:39, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Are these words really uniform in pronunciation, meaning and usage throughout the Arabic speaking world? My very limited knowledge on the subject makes me believe probably not.
On the other hand, if a word is very common to hear then probably worth listing --Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:45, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps, but I am not sure even then. If local people are addressing you, as a foreigner relying on a phrasebook, they are hardly using slang if they want you to understand. And if they are trying to offend you without your noticing, you probably notice the situation in other ways – or remain ignorant of it even knowing a few of the words that could be used. Drawing conclusions from what you think are offending words, in a language you at most know the basics of, can quickly get worse than just being ignorant about the awkward situation. Some of the words (or words pronounced similarly enough) might well be used in a totally neutral manner. --LPfi (talk) 21:14, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree, and no, these slang expressions are not universal. Sometimes is the operative word when it comes to Ana Aref :) It's a specific use of a very common sentence, and not even all that popular in most Arabic speaking countries, to my knowledge. In a particular context with particular body language, words can assume different of even opposite meanings. That kind of language (use) never belongs in a phrase book though, because it doesn't work when tourists use it without the correct context and it can cause a lot of confusing. Ana aref is simply "I know". When you shrug and grin and use it in a suitable (slang) conversation, then yes, it may be used to mean "I don't have a clue". If someone is giving you directions to the station in an area you don't know, and he asks if you know where the mosque is (to tell you how to walk from there), answering with ana aref would be a particularly bad idea. If you're a tourist and you know only a few sentences of Arabic, any Arab will understand "ana aref" as "I know". Another problem with slang in Arabic is that it differs greatly from country to country. Half of these words may be popular in, say, Palestine, but might not be popular at all in Syria or Egypt. JuliasTravels (talk) 21:31, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I oppose this idea in the most emphatic terms possible. First off, swear words have differing levels of vulgarity between different cultures - take the word "cunt" for example, which is considered extremely vulgar in North American English, somewhat less so in UK English, and whose French equivalent (con) is barely considered profane at all; whereas "mother insults" are pretty mild, schoolyard-level taunts in the Anglosphere yet are among the worst things you could say to someone from Latin America or Mediterranean Europe. Our phrasebooks are intended for travellers, not students of language, so including swear words in them without a pretty in-depth level of cultural context that Wikivoyage is not designed to provide could lead to some pretty nasty unintended consequences. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, one of out goals at Wikivoyage is (or should be) to foster a sense of goodwill among travellers and those who come into contact with them, and I think it impugns that goal pretty gravely to teach our readers terms of abuse that might be used against their hosts. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:52, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Agreed: outside the scope of Wikivoyage. Swearing is a fine art, fraught with danger, and Wiktionary is a good starting point but only that. A WV phrasebook cannot begin to do it justice. Peter Chastain (talk) 00:08, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
I definitely agree that this is a bad idea. The way I see it, the phrasebooks should present words and expressions that are among the most necessary and useful. In the Malay phrasebook, I've included a lot of words for foods that are not part of the basic template, because makan (eating) is so important to Malaysians and food is so delicious there. So it's not that every phrasebook should have only a minimal amount of content, but I really don't see why it's important to teach beginners in a language how to curse like a sailor. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:34, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
I think it best to leave them out of the phrasebooks as they can be found elsewhere should one want to attain them. Of course it is not uncommon to encounter swearing during one's travels but as mentioned above, they can be found elsewhere. One often learns those words and phrases early when discovering languages; however, WV is not the place to do so IMHO. -- Ikan did you mean curse like a "matroc"? -- Matroc (talk) 02:05, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Does that mean "sailor" in some language? Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:51, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
A damned tabernacle with a chalice full of communion wafers! You do realise that all of this will be complicated greatly by concepts being used as swear, curse or expletives in one language that might be rather meaningless in another. (For instance, that burst of religious terminology that's meaningless in English probably says something really bad en français au Québec, non?). I don't suggest pretending that the voyager will not encounter these words (au contraire!) but it'll take more than a mere literal translation to convey what's very strong language at one destination. For instance, "con" in French (literally) is a female anatomy part but (de facto) is a fairly mild term meaning "stupid"; bring religion into a place where historically the Church has been far too powerful and the reaction is entirely different. K7L (talk) 18:12, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

You all convinced me that is not a good idea here on Engvoy, or elsewhere on Wikivoyage (eg, the Hebrew Wikivoyage). I will be removing those sections from the Hebvoy phrasebooks. Thanks for everyone's feedback. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 03:02, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia links[edit]

Are we linking Wikipedia articles about each language in the sidebar of phrasebooks? I think that would be appropriate. Any objections? Or should we just use the Wikidata link? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:38, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

As far as I know, we do both. See French phrasebook for instance. Powers (talk) 01:26, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. That sidebar looks redundant, with 2 links to Wikipedia. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:30, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
That happens a lot, as we have both Wikidata providing links and our own [[Wikipedia:foo]] interwiki link code. Powers (talk) 01:16, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
But it seems undesirable to me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:53, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
It may be, but that's a bigger policy issue. Powers (talk) 21:00, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Is there any threshold of usefulness?[edit]

I am still strongly of the opinion that no traveler really benefits from knowing Esperanto, except if they want to meet other Esperanto enthusiasts. But that said, with the glaring exception of Esperanto, is there any threshold of usefulness that is or should be applied to languages on this travel guide? For example, Ladino has a rich history, but in what destination is it really useful to know how to speak it? Please discuss whether there is or should be a threshold of usefulness to languages covered by supposedly travel-relevant phrasebooks on this site, and if so, how we could determine where to draw the line. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:18, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

See also Manx phrasebook for instance, which explicitly states (and rightly so) that every person who speaks Manx is also fluent in English. Certainly, there is some utility in being able to read some signage but those will all be in English as well in public spaces. If someone wants to learn Manx (or Ladino or several of the languages we have here), then that is worthwhile but mostly as an academic exercise or possibly to connect with one's roots rather than actual travel. I'm not necessarily arguing for deletion but just providing some perspective. —Justin (koavf)TCM 07:24, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
It's a little hard to draw a line but if the language isn't a majority nor official language anywhere, then it's probably safe to say that the phrasebook is of no use — at least in the same sense as other phrasebooks.
"Exotic" phrasebooks could possibly be developed in the direction of Travel topics instead, presenting more of the culture related to that language, like e.g. Esperanto events, traditional Manx cuisine etc. ϒpsilon (talk) 13:00, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
I would be inclined to agree that we shouldn't bother maintaining a phrasebook for a language that isn't in exclusive use somewhere. I note with some relief no one's tried to make a Latin phrasebook. Powers (talk) 22:58, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
On second thought, 'exclusive use' is a bit overly strict. Esperanto I can see keeping because one might find an Esperanto speaker almost anywhere. Powers (talk) 22:59, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
How widespread is Pig Latin speaking? ;-) Seriously, how great a chance is there anywhere to find Esperanto speakers, rather than people who speak English? Also, if we're not maintaining a phrasebook, what should we do with it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:11, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
It would be up for deletion if it has no practical utility. Powers (talk) 19:49, 19 September 2016 (UTC)


Swept in from the pub

I think we have had discussions about the two (three) possible ways to visualize pronunciation more than once now... There are in short:

  • pseudo-phonetics using an English based system - very inaccurate prone to being misunderstood, arguably the one English speakers understand the best
  • IPA symbols - not ambiguous, not English based - arguably unlikely to be known by many people
  • Audio files: Hard to do (we'd need a bunch of native speakers), hard to get out in a pinch (e.g. the check comes in a restaurant and you want to know what to say now), difficult to make portable; cannot be printed - Upside: everybody understands it and it is the least unambiguous.

Now we will most likely not get to any solution, because we did not the last time around, but maybe some combination of two of the three or all three might be a good idea?

Alternatively, we might seriously consider whether phrasebook are / should be part of our mission with the "others do it better by default" argument. I don't know whether this has merit, but a lot has changed since the first phrasebooks were written on this project... Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:00, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

@Hobbitschuster: Since the traveller comes first, we should employ the most usable option which is some psuedo-phonetics. Small and unintrusive icons for audio which are excluded in print would be helpful but as you point out, it will be awhile before we have recordings of everything. —Justin (koavf)TCM 22:42, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Every voyage begins with single step. But we have to take that step if we want to get somewhere... At any rate, you oppose IPA? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:47, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: Not at all! Just think of what's maximally useful. We could even have IPA in a chart at the beginning alongside the more intelligible pronunciations and then just use the non-standard but easier to understanding pronunciations throughout the guides. —Justin (koavf)TCM 22:57, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
You see, I think IPA is easier to understand. Because while some sybols are hard to grasp, they always mean precisely the same thing in any given context. No system based on the incredibly illogical English letters to sounds system could even come close to that. And that is before you fogure in sounds English does not have. I understand that some people will not know or understand IPA, but as debates about whether Spanish e sounds like "e" or "ay" (the latter being a sure telltale sign for a broad American/English accent imho) have shown, English is ill-equipped to show how other languages are pronounced. In some cases those pseudo-pronunciations might even confuse people unnecessarily. Spanish or German letters to sounds relations are pretty straightforward, but if it says "bwaynous dee-ars", even people who have understood the Spanish pronunciation logic might get confused.... Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:25, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
It would be "BWAY-nohs DEE-ahs", which, rendered by a native speaker of most English dialects, comes out close enough for most native Spanish speakers to understand (or so I would think). IPA is great for accuracy, but unless you have a good majority of the hundreds of symbols memorized, useless for rendering foreign sentences on the fly. Powers (talk) 20:29, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
We have to explain what sounds exist in a given language at the beginning of the article regardless. And some sounds are impossible to represent by English letters because they don't exist in English. And most languages we would have phrasebooks on don't have hundreds of sounds but a more manageable number somewhere around fifty or lower than that. So it may make sense to explain the sounds at the beginning (meaning the readers can make sense of the IPA symbols) and then give them the IPA symbols with the words. Because quite frankly "bad is good enough" should not be a motto, not even in the crutch we give people trying to pronounce our phrasebooks... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:13, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
I cannot talk for native speakers, but for me, with a quite phonetic writing system in my own language(s), the IPA codes often really are much more readable than the English approximations. Most sounds in the languages I know have IPA symbols that look like the letters used for these sounds (a or ɑ for a, e or ɛ for e etc.), thus one can concentrate on the odd ones, or nuances of the quasi-familiar ones. --LPfi (talk) 18:54, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Same here. I think part of this debate is whether we should address English native speakers first and foremost (soodou founeticks) or speakers of all languages who read English (IPA) Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:54, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Considering there are no other phrasebooks accessible to monolingual English speakers except for these, while polyglots have (at least theoretically) the option of using phrasebooks in their native languages, I should think we would have to target English native speakers as the primary audience. (Also, if a language has sounds in it that aren't present in English, how exactly does IPA help, unless the reader also knows a language that does have the sound?) Powers (talk) 21:10, 22 June 2016 (UTC)