Language picking

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Oct 6 18:05:22 CEST 2006

Debbie Garside scripsit:
> Not bad :-)
> But, in this instance, I would add... Display the top 10 languages by
> population/speakers followed by others in alphabetical order. 

Fair enough.  I was trying to handle only the generic case, where
we don't know anything about what's probable.

> I think it would be useful to discuss the various uses.  In other
> words, look at the end product first.  Which industries do we think
> will be using this data and in what way?  For instance, pick lists
> on web sites for Joe Public to navigate, the needs of archivists and
> libraries who may well need a more linguistic/relational style approach,
> web designers, software designers who are interested in ascertaining
> the locale, etc. etc. Each may have different priorities.

I think the archivists and librarians, who in principle may have to deal
with anything (especially when dealing with audio) will be the ones who
need the full power and generality of this.  No web site is going to be
localized in 7000 languages or even 700, so the problem doesn't arise.

John Cowan  cowan at
Consider the matter of Analytic Philosophy.  Dennett and Bennett are well-known.
Dennett rarely or never cites Bennett, so Bennett rarely or never cites Dennett.
There is also one Dummett.  By their works shall ye know them.  However, just as
no trinities have fourth persons (Zeppo Marx notwithstanding), Bummett is hardly
known by his works.  Indeed, Bummett does not exist.  It is part of the function
of this and other e-mail messages, therefore, to do what they can to create him.

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