Wikipedia still needs more African editors
Last year, we posted Wikipedia language data with the comment that more editors are needed for non-English language. What has changed in the past 14 months? A Wikipedia Stats page, when filtered by languages spoken in Africa, provides the number of speakers, editors, number of articles, and usage of this content.
Well, there are still fewer than 1,000 pages in Hausa for an estimated 39 million speakers to access! The most obvious trend is the lack of content for languages other than English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. In fact, 24 of the 41 languages spoken in Africa with greater than 1 million speakers worldwide have fewer than 1,000 Wikipedia articles. What’s more, the content is hardly accessed – these pages only receive 50 or so views per hour.
In terms of absolute number of pages, the African language ranking goes:
- Yoruba (29,854)
- Malagasy (28,169)
- Swahili (22,749)
- Afrikaans (20,489)
- Amharic (11,494)
But, as TechLoy notes, the Yoruba language, although boasting claim to the most Wikipedia pages of any African language, contains many pages created by bots.
Comparing data from December 2011 with numbers from October 2010, we find that more editors are needed for 42 languages spoken in Africa. Although many languages now have better representation in the encyclopedia, they still lack substantial depth. In many cases, there are only a handful of editors for a language that is spoken by millions of people – people who very well have Internet access. The troubling trend is that the growth in number of editors lags the annual Internet adoption rates in many of the countries were these languages are spoken. Perhaps users are happy to use French, English, or Arabic, but either way, the prevalence of African languages on Wikipedia is conspicuously low.
The data is limited to languages with more than 875,000 global speakers. Only Wikipedias which contain 10 or more articles and which received 10 or more edits in last month are listed. Not included are Afarhz, Herero, Kanuri, and Ndonga.
- The number of editors per million speakers remained unchanged for the vast majority of the 42 languages
- Zulu and Siswati both lost their sole editor
- Amharic dropped from having 0.3 editors per million speakers to only 0.2
- The number of Somali editors grew by 20% (added 1 or 2 editors)
- The number of Yoruba editors went from 5 to 10 (0.2 per million speakers)
- Median growth of 31%
- Strongest growth in visits from Shona (388%), Kinyarwanda (315%), Malagasy (169%)
- Also >100% growth for Amharic, Igbo and Ganda language views
- Negative growth for Kikuyu (-32%), Ewe (-5%), Tsonga (-5%)
- All languages spoken in Africa show positive article growth
- Median growth of 33%
- Correlates with article views (above)
- Strongest growth: Shona (1,588%), Kinyarwanda (1,237%), Malagasy (980%)
- Also >100% growth from Twi, Fulfulde, Ganda, Setswana, Tumbuka languages
- Lowest growth from Igbo (4%), followed by Kikuyu (5%), Wolof (6%), Swahili (8%)
Wikipedia Data (2011 vs 2010)
|Language||Speakers (Prim + Sec)||Editors per million speakers (14 mo % change)||Views/hr (14 mo % change)||Articles (14 mo % change)|
|Simple English||1500 M||0%||65%||16%|
|Egyptian Arabic||76 M||0%||60%||22%|
|Northern Sotho||4 M||#N/A||#N/A||#N/A|