African Languages in Wikipedia – A Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

8 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017 Last revised: 12 Apr 2017

See all articles by Bert van Pinxteren

Bert van Pinxteren

Leiden University - African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL)

Date Written: April 11, 2017

Abstract

The paper examines the availability of Wikipedia information in indigenous African languages. This is important because, as Graham and Zook have argued, fundamentally different narratives are created about places and topics in different languages. The article shows that all indigenous African languages together account for only 1% of the total number of Wikipedia articles. The great majority of these is in just five languages. The paper calls for a conscious effort to build and promote African languages, also on Wikipedia.

Keywords: Wikipedia, Africa, language, indigenous African languages, Internet, narratives

JEL Classification: D83

Suggested Citation

van Pinxteren, Bert, African Languages in Wikipedia – A Glass Half Full or Half Empty? (April 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2939146 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2939146

Bert Van Pinxteren (Contact Author)

Leiden University - African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) ( email )

Wassenaarseweg 52
Leiden, 2333 AK
Netherlands

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