The first entry on the WTF files on Linguistrix is supposedly a quote by Jimmy Wales published in today’s HT (Wikipedia woos India with local languages). I say supposedly because I really hope that this attribution is incorrect, that this is the result of stupid paraphrasing, and that Jimmy Wales didn’t actually say something so hopelessly asinine—

“In languages such as Latin, expressing an idea becomes difficult because the language is not commonly spoken and written. However, Indian languages are living languages, where expressing is a lot easier.”

This is in quotation marks, and if you read the article, it’s pretty clear that this is supposed to be a direct quote (or a very close version of the same). Cicero, and Virgil, and Horace, and Ovid… your language just ain’t good enough. Sorry rahega.

Regular readers of this blog (or those who read this post) would not need to be told what’s wrong here—we don’t have a Latin Wikipedia not because it’s _difficult to express an idea_ in Latin, but because it would be patently stupid to have an encyclopedia written in a language that is virtually dead except in academic circles. It would be equally pointless to have an encyclopedia (whose aim is to make information accessible to the masses) written in Sanskrit, although many Sanskrit fans will tell you that the language is perfectly suited for expressing thoughts of whatsoever kind. Sanskrit Superfans might even assert that the language is better suited for expression of ideas. But it would still be a wasted effort to have a Sanskrit Wikipedia, except for the geek quotient.