About SML and internationalization

John Cowan cowan at locke.ccil.org
Sun Nov 28 02:08:19 GMT 1999

Didier PH Martin scripsit:
> Hi John,
> Thanks for correcting my comment about the Eskimo words for snow (and I
> learned something useful in the process, so many thanks for this).

I'm glad; I have dedicated myself to stamping out this many-words-for-snow
meme where I find it.

> This nonetheless, do not diminish the fact that for an Eskimo to be able to
> markup in its own language is a minimal right and respect from the rest of
> the planet toward its own culture. Also, that XML is a framework used to
> create domain languages. Am right this time?

I absolutely agree.

> And as such, a domain language
> may equally well created in Japanese, Chinese, German, English, Spanish,
> Portuguese, French, Russian, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish... By the way (I do
> not want to make an error this time) how many different languages do we have
> on our spaceship named earth?

About 6000, depending on how you define "language" and your criterion
for being a dead language (perhaps 20% are at least moribund if not actually
dead).  Unbelievably, about 1000 languages are found solely on the island
of New Guinea, which occupies less than 1% of the Earth's land area.

See http://www.sil.org/ethnologue for details.

John Cowan                                   cowan at ccil.org
       I am a member of a civilization. --David Brin

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