Basque Wikimedians User Group.
To examine the vitality of a language, sociolinguists frequently consult an index: the Calvet barometer. This barometer measures the health of a language by means of certain parameters: the number of speakers, its official status, the weight the language carries in the educational field, the number of books published in that language, its fertility (i.e the rate of reproduction of its speakers)’ …. . and the number of articles the language has on Wikipedia, among others. It goes without saying that English is the language that appears in the highest position in that barometer. Basque (Euskera), on the other hand, is ranked 51st (among 563 languages).
The presence that a language has in Wikipedia, therefore, is a good indicator, among others, of the strength of that language. Some languages have a large number of speakers, but a very low presence on the internet (Quechua, for example: it has 10 million speakers, but hardly an internet presence). Obviously these languages are condemned to disappear in a short or medium term.
Wikipedia is published in 298 languages. Most minority languages in Europe have their own Wikipedia page. When we speak of “minority languages” we are referring to languages that are minorities in their own territory (Basque, Welsh, Corsican or Irish, for example), or to languages that, even though they are the majority in their territory, do not have a proper state (Catalan, for example).
After analyzing all the wikipedia pages in minority languages in Europe we have come to this conclusion: Basque is, after Catalan, the second minority language in Europe with a most developed wikipedia. Without falling into complacency, we Basque speakers can be proud, therefore, of our Wikipedia page.
This statement is based on the following data:
1.-) Regarding the number of articles, the Basque Wikipedia page is — after the Catalan Wikipedia — the one with the highest number of articles (360,000) among all the wikipedia analyzed. This is far in advance of other languages: in Galician (164,000 articles), in Welsh (130,000), in Occitan (85.000), in Faroese (39,000), in Irish (52,000), etc.
2.-) In addition to the number of articles, the development and quality of these articles are also of great importance. When analyzing the 1,000 fundamental articles that all wikipedia should have, Catalan Wikipedia is by far the one with the best-developed 1,000 articles. After it comes the Galician wikipedia page and then the wikipedia in Basque. Wikipedia in Occitan, Asturian, Welsh, Irish, Frisian and Faroese, in that order, come after ours.
3.-) Apart from having many articles and of quality, the number of readers also gives us an idea of the strength of a wikipedia page. A wikipedia that has many articles but few readers is a weak one. Again, the Catalan Wikipedia page is at the top of the ranking (that Wikipedia has 650,000 visits every day). The Wikipedia in the Basque language is the second in terms of number of readers among the wikipedia pages in minority languages in Europe (90,000 visits per day), and the Galician third (78,000 visits). The wikipedia page in Irish has 16,000 visits, the Welsh 25,000, the Breton 17,000, the Occitan also 17,000, the Friesian 14,000, the Corsican 4,500 and the Faroese 9,000, to name just a few.
4.-) Wikipedia is a digital encyclopedia prepared by a team of volunteers. The community of volunteers or users behind the Wikipedia in Basque is very active and dynamic. There are 150 active users on our wikipedia page, with ours, after Catalan (530 users) being the second largest European wikipedia in minority languages with the most active users. The wikipedia page in the Galician language has 85 users, the Welsh 41, the Breton 13, the Asturian 29, the Friesian 11, the Occitan 19, the Wikipedia in Scottish Gaelic 4, the Corsican other 4, the Faroese 7 and the Irish 27, among the most important minority languages.
In recent years we have had the opportunity to participate in various wikipedia congresses at European level, and there we have been able to chat with active members of other wikipedia pages in minority languages, having established particularly close links with the Welsh. Well, in these international conferences we have personally seen the admiration that Basque wikipedia arouses among those other minority languages in Europe (obviously, Catalan Wikipedia plays in another division). This proves the strength of our Wikipedia and our language on the Internet, which is the best incentive for Basque volunteers to continue working enthusiastically on our own Wikipedia.