Why not open up "english" for other languages?

There is no "cplusplus.stackexchange.com" and no "charp.stackexchange.com", so why is there an extra "english.stackexchange.com"?

It would be much better if we had this platform for natural languages of all kind. I often enough wonder about how certain words of my mother tongue developed. It would be good if I could ask them here.

Why don't we change the site to be called "linguistics.stackexchange.com"?

It is, in my opinion, a better thing to reward people for knowing more than their own mother tongue or more than just English. If people grow to have multiple tags like "English", "German", "Spain" etc, that would be a nice achievement and a good reason to have linguistics. The world is connecting together, it would be most natural if StackExchange would encourage that and help the community to understand each other.

On the other side, if we split this up like that, more seldom languages like esperanto are unlikely to ever get their own site, much like the brainfuck programming language would never have gotten its own site.

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    I think for two reasons: First - The SE system is designed to be English through and through right now (IIRC), altho nobody is against language specific questions, answers or comments when appropriate. Second - English is quite complicated on its own. As an English speaker by birth with a passing knowledge of three other European languages, I know that it's easier to speak almost any other European language. So I think it would be helpful to have a site specifically dedicated to the linguistics of English by itself. Just my $.05
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 1:47
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    @drachenstern - ever tried Swiss German, or even German? Finish, Hungarian? Russian? What `three languages do you base your analysis from? But I agree that English, as any other language,deserves its own platform. 1 million words with a complex, non context free grammar make it far more complex than programming languages.
    – Ralph Rickenbach
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 8:49
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    Most importantly, don't forget about critical mass. You can be darn sure that on a site dedicated to language X lots of people are proficient in it. But on a site about "natural languages of all kind" you don't have the slightest idea if there's even a single person who knows anything about the language you happen to be interested in. So it'll have lots of unanswered questions piling up, and lots of people leaving in frustration. It's not about what questions can be asked; it's all about what questions can be answered. (BTW, Esperanto is neither seldom nor natural.)
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 10:03
  • @RalphRickenbach German and Spanish and a hint of Polish are the languages I base my comments on. I admit to not speaking them as fluently as a native, but nevertheless I understand the basics of the languages. What languages do you speak sir?
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 15:06
  • @Drachenstern - I speak Swiss German, German and English fluently, enough French to do business in, some Italian, Spanish, and can read and understand some Latin. I also looked into biblical Hebrew.
    – Ralph Rickenbach
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 17:42
  • @RalphRickenbach ~ Sweet, I wish I were fluent in one language ;) ... So anyways, I still stand by my previous position, knowing that I know very little on the matter. see Dunning-Kruger effect
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 19:11
  • But on a site about "natural languages of all kind" you don't have the slightest idea if there's even a single person who knows anything about the language you happen to be interested in. -> Well then, be it so. I don't see what's wrong with that. Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 11:20
  • @Johannes: then see the sentence right after that: "So it'll have lots of unanswered questions piling up, and lots of people leaving in frustration." Would you really be willing to participate in a site where you can ask anything only to have it unanswered? And if yes, then there's no shortage of such sites on the Internet already; we are trying to create something different. StackExchange is all about Q&A sites that are actually useful. (Just look at our answer rate: it has never fallen below 99%; open the site to other languages, and it will drop instantaneously.)
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 11:44
  • @RegDwight I wouldn't want to participate in such a site. But linguistics wouldn't be such a site. The answers to the current english site proves that there can be answers to english questions, and I think it'd be similar to other languages. If someone has a question about esperanto and it is not answered here and decides he doesn't want to ask again, that's his/her thing, and stems from the fact there is noone on the site knowing the answer. I don't see why that would be an argument against linguistics site. Commented Dec 16, 2010 at 5:41
  • Johannes, we're on the same page here. "Linguistics wouldn't be such a site" — precisely. I'm only saying that EL&U would be such a site if you added other languages. That's because we focused on English right from the onset. The Linguistics proposal, on the other hand, is precisely for people who can answer questions about many more languages; it will only reach beta when it has lots of them; and you will be able to ask questions about Tagalog, Saaroa, Limbu, you name it, and they will be getting answers. My point is that they won't be getting answers here, on this site.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 16, 2010 at 9:27

3 Answers 3


I like the spirit in which the proposal was made, but I don't think this would work. Different from Stack Overflow, there would be extremely little overlap between tag audiences. Except for a relatively small number of "inter-linguists", the crowd dealing with the finer points of the English language has nothing to do with, say, a crowd dealing with the finer points of the German or French languages.

I think languages need to be kept separate, although this at the moment (sadly) means that english is the only language that actually has a running site.

  • Accepting for the rationale of there being next to no overlap between tag audiences. Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 11:24
  • I will add that a non-negligible part of this community here does support those other proposals — Linguistics, Languages, Translation, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, English-Russian exchange... If you look at their followers/committers, you'll see quite a few familiar faces. If anything, those proposals need more support from outside English Language and Usage. So keep promoting. (Right now, Japanese and German are the most likely to make the cut.)
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 14:14

Those interested in a linguistics SE site should throw their support behind the proposal for one in Area 51.

  • that seems to target "professional" linguistics. While this english site also helps mere mortals, and while my proposed linguistic site would do so too :( Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 8:55
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    Well, there's also Languages, Translation, and a zillion others, just search Area51 for "language".
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 9:46

If I am not mistaken, this website was proposed as a Q&A website about English, was supported by many people, started as beta, and graduated beta. Change the central scope of the website this late in the game? No way.

Please respect the efforts which early people made to start this website.

As Kosmonaut and RegDwight wrote, there are several proposals in Area 51 about linguistics and languages (even if you do not count the many proposals about specific languages). Support the one you want to.

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