Wikipedia:Babel

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On Wikipedia, the noun Babel (in reference to the Tower of Babel) refers to the user language templates aiding multilingual communication by making it easier to contact someone who speaks a certain language. The idea originated on the Wikimedia Commons and has also been implemented on Meta-Wiki and some of the other Wikipedias, to varying extents. To participate, you can add the Babel template to your user page by following these instructions:

  • Start off with {{Babel|
  • Next add one of the following codes for each language you speak or understand, separated by |, where xx is the Wikipedia code for the language. The general usage of each code level is as follows (note that not all languages have all levels, but you may create the template you are missing):
    • xx-0 if you don't understand the language at all. Don't use it for every language that you don't know, but only when there is some reason why you might be expected to know it. For example, you may be of Italian descent, but you do not speak the Italian language, or if you are Canadian, and you do not speak French.
    • xx-1 for basic ability - enough to understand written material or simple questions in this language.
    • xx-2 for intermediate ability - enough for editing or discussions.
    • xx-3 for advanced level - though you can write in this language with no problem, some small errors might occur.
    • xx-4 for 'near-native' level - although it's not your first language from birth, your ability is something like that of a native speaker.
    • xx-5 for professional proficiency. Note that this template is currently only available for a few languages.
    • xx (no hyphen or number) for native speakers who use a language every day and have a thorough grasp of it, including colloquialisms and idioms.
  • Expanded definitions of these levels are also available.
  • Then finish by adding closing braces: }}


So, for example, {{Babel|en|de-1}} would indicate a native speaker of English with basic knowledge of German. {{Babel|en-5|sv|no-4|he-3|lt-2|es-1|da-0}} would indicate a professional proficiency of the English language, a native speaker of Swedish with an almost-native knowledge of Norwegian, advanced knowledge of Hebrew, an intermediate knowledge of Lithuanian, a basic knowledge of Spanish and no knowledge of Danish.

These templates add you to the category associated with your level of understanding, and to the overall category for that language.

To find someone who speaks a particular language, see Wikipedians by languages, and follow the links. For the most part, the two and three letter codes are taken from ISO 639, but see this list for a comprehensive guide.

You can help expand this system by creating templates for your language. Categories have already been created for most languages which have editions of Wikipedia containing over a hundred articles; they just need labelling up! It's recommended to copy the English or French versions when expanding the scheme, as most of the languages listed here are incomplete.

Note that many sign languages currently use the same template with language code "sgn", with the exception of American Sign Language users who should use the American Sign Language template. Other sign languages can be specified within the {{User sgn}} template itself. The use of this parameter requires the user to perform an extra step when using the {{Babel-#}} templates, described here.