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Should questions about identifying languages be on-topic here?


  • Such Q's are often interesting by themselves;
  • They may highlight some unusual usage of common languages or provide an interesting info about extinct or rare ones;
  • They may let the users to demonstrate their erudition (may be an important concern for someone);
  • At the moment, Linguistics.SE needs more users and more questions, so even if such questions are not {yet} on-topic, they may be included;


  • There may be disputes on which language it is, provided that several relative languages or dialects may apply;
  • They are not about linguistics! :)
Thanks for the question. I'll wait to see more community participation and then when there's enough consensus, I'll take the majority vote. :) I added the featured tag. It should bring more attention to it. – Alenanno Jan 11 '13 at 10:17
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As you say, there are several good reasons to allow them, and that is enough for me. I vote yes.


Few considerations:

  • Methods of automated language identification given a text belong to linguistics. So language identification per se is not off-topic, but just this particular type of language identification as it includes listening to a recorded speech sample.

  • Sometimes identified language family or even a geographic area could be enough for the asker

Also it is not clear to me how language identification should be performed in principle. A web site where speakers of all possible languages listen to all samples provided by askers doesn't seem feasible.

RE: automated identification, I would argue that Markov's chains and Vector-space modeling rather belong to Theoretical Comp Science or Computational Science; there are many nice NLP questions there. – bytebuster Jan 10 '13 at 9:38
RE: how identification should be done. Again, it's a statistical analysis combined with a probabilistic Vector-space modeling, like on this site. – bytebuster Jan 10 '13 at 9:41

More questions is ok with me!

And if there are some disputes about exactly which dialect/language it is then I look forward to some well argued linguistic analysis.


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