6

Please note firstly that I'm referring to the questions here in this private beta until the graduation to the public beta. After this, the users are free to ask in the language they think is better to them.

What I'm noticing is that the majority of questions are being asked in Portuguese, and consequently the answers too (including the ones from me, I know, but I'll do something after this discussion). But that's becoming the opposite of one of this site's proposal, that is to be a good source of information in just one place for people learning Portuguese. But if a great part of the questions and answers are in Portuguese, what would be the benefit for those who know just a little? They would need to ask again the same questions that could (also) be in English? Now indeed there would be no difference searching on Google, because the percentage of results in English and Portuguese would be the same in PL SE.

Take as an example the Japanese SE. It's very very rare to someone ask a question in Japanese there, even though that SE is about Japanese language, and follows the same pattern as Portuguese SE.

I think we should translate at least those basic/common questions, because limiting the user's Portuguese knowledge to be intermediary and up, is quite unwelcoming, as this is a Portuguese Language SE, a place where people learning Portuguese can ask questions.
And by the way, the most number of visits to SE sites comes from Google searches. And if someone comes here, in a website in English, with a question in English, wanting to know the answer to a question he/she has about Portuguese, isn't that person an English speaker who is learning Portuguese? Why to leave all the questions in the language they still don't understand?


Edit:
Ok, so this is already decided..
It seems like this site will be mostly for Portuguese speakers, instead of welcoming Portuguese beginners too.
I'd prefer much more helping who is learning instead of natives with questions (not that they don't need help), but if you all have a different opinion, no problem.
Edit 2:
After 8 months and rereading this question, I realized that it's actually proposing something kind of nonsensical, and defending another nonsense. I wasn't understanding quite well the role of this SE yet.

  • 3
    Your question reverts back to a multitude of topics already discussed (whether to write questions in English or Portuguese, and whether we should populate the site with questions). Do note that not all Portuguese SE users are learning the language, they may just want to polish their knowledge in some aspects. – E_net4 Jul 16 '15 at 9:49
  • Yes, not all, but a lot of them are.. – Yuuza Jul 16 '15 at 9:57
  • So are you simply proposing to translate "synthesised" questions and respective answers to both languages? – E_net4 Jul 16 '15 at 10:00
  • 1
    It would be good to be in both languages (like many questions in the French SE are), this way either Portuguese speakers and Portuguese learners can find the site. Have in mind that the future users from outside, in the public beta, need a useful amount of English questions/answers so that they can begin using Portuguese SE as a source for study. And then create an account and ask own questions. – Yuuza Jul 16 '15 at 10:10
  • Olha isso... arabic.stackexchange.com – LucasMotta Jul 16 '15 at 13:38
  • 1
    About your edit "Although seems like this site will be only for Portuguese speakers instead of to be welcoming to Portuguese beginners too." - NO - You already know this from the comments on answers (so, this is more directed to other people reading this). This site for both speakers and learners, and a lot of our users will be Portuguese speakers who don't know English and we don't want to frustrate them. – Victor Stafusa Jul 16 '15 at 23:43
14

Full immersion language learning is a strong learning tool.
That is one benefit.

Counter-example to japanese SE: german SE, where many questions are in German.
It might have to do with StackExchange not being popular in Japan due to the language barrier.

(For meta, however, I would advocate to discuss in English.)

  • 4
    Just note however that "full immersion" is different from to see a text wall in Portuguese, which have the possibility of the person still not understanding it. As an example, I'm also learning another language, Japanese, and I still cannot understand complete texts, worst if this text is full of grammatic wordings. It's awful when I need to know, e.g., the difference between two words, but the text is all written is in it. Japanese SE is being a great source because all questions and answers there are in the language I can understand (I'm not saying to force using only English). – Yuuza Jul 16 '15 at 20:58
  • 1
    Right now I can't think or write about it, but I'd like to see a meta-discussion over "For meta, however, it is advocated to discuss in English", do you have any references for that, ANeves? – brasofilo Jul 19 '15 at 17:51
  • @brasofilo I must have dreamt it; I could not have read about it because I use English SE sites only. Edited my answer. But here are relevant links: meta.french.stackexchange.com/questions/78/… ( meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/325/… ) – ANeves Jul 20 '15 at 13:20
12

A similar question has been asked during the commitment phase, here: Default Language for Questions in Portuguese Language

I believe that the answer to that questions answers the majority of your questions.

Robert Cartaino answer's:

Ideally, a site for the Portuguese language should be conducted in Portuguese with an English component to help those who are first-day beginners. But to say "You cannot speak Portuguese here" (oops, I mean "Você não pode falar português aqui") would go against everything we know about full-immersion learning.

Anyway, this has come up several times on other sites, so I'll just quote the rest here:

It would be unfortunate to preclude Portuguese speakers in a Portuguese Language proposal. On the contrary, studying a language has long been known to be best conducted in a full-immersion environment (i.e. in the target language only).

We've even considered (on the Stack Exchange Team) urging our language sites to become "full immersion." Its long been known that foreign-language classes are most effective when conducted in full immersion, but there would have to be a culture of users where struggling beginners are helped when posting their "broken" questions… to help flesh out their meaning and to edit their posts into a condition that is understandable.

There are a lot of challenges to supporting the users of full-immersion environment, so we've been dragging our heels about suggesting it at all. But we would support any language site that wanted to step up and do this the right way.

And consider the Portuguese speakers who are looking for the Portuguese-equivalent of our "English Language & Usage" site. They would become a tremendous asset to making your site great.

In all reality, we are quickly becoming a world wide site, and we're going to look back on this someday and laugh that we ever allowed (on these language sites) to use English at all.

Regarding your question:

They would need to ask again the same questions that could (also) be in English?

Yes, they can. That's why most of people are agreeing that this should not be considered duplicate, here: Perguntas semelhantes, escritas em idiomas distintos, devem ser consideradas duplicadas?

8

Regarding what to do for the rest of private beta...

Please note firstly that I'm referring to the questions here in this private beta until the graduation to the public beta. After this, the users are free to ask in the language they think is better to them.

Leave existing questions alone and don't demand future beta questions be in English. I don't think questions in Portuguese will scare off learners (like me), and contributions should be welcomed in whatever form users (who are volunteering their time) feel most comfortable. Many questions in Portuguese are advanced enough that learners would only need to ask them when they're advanced enough to try reading them.

Post new "duplicate" questions in English if you want, but just during private beta. On the other hand, if folks want to take initiative to make the site more friendly to learners who aren't ready for full immersion, there are some existing questions that learners will certainly want to ask (por que vs porque, et al; mil vs milhar; everything on ).

For those questions, I think it is better to make separate Q&As than to edit translations into existing ones that were conducted entirely in Portuguese. First, this lines up with our apparent consensus on answering questions in the language they were initially asked and allowing cross-language duplicates. Moreover, most answers will be substantially different when directed at an English speaker, so a simple translation of existing answers won't be sufficient. Finally, separate questions will be more easily found by learners.

As the OP argues, these may make the site more welcoming to learners. However, I don't think we should make creating English dupes an ongoing policy (long into beta), since we should have enough learners asking questions of their own soon enough.

(Just to clarify, I don't mean to suggest that every question in Portuguese needs a twin in English; nor that bilingual questions are problematic.)

8

From the definition phase of the proposal.

Beta Q&A site for linguists, teachers and learners wanting to discuss the finer points of the Portuguese language.

Looking at questions, more than half of the questions are in Portuguese. This is the community that formed around the proposal. Our policy is to accept questions in English, so any learner may ask in English, too.

But Portuguese is a romance language, so that language learners might be able to ask/answer questions in Portuguese already. (Because they know French/Spanish/[whatever].) That's a Good Thing!

(That's not the case for Japanese. In my opinion, writing Japanese is the last big hurdle to being fluent in the language, so few learners will be able to ask/answer questions in Japanese.)

Other language sites, like French.SE or Italian.SE, are experiencing the same thing. Questions are being asked in [language], rather than English. Perfect! One step toward getting everyone on board fluent in Portuguese and one step closer to getting to the finer points of the Portuguese language.

(I just hope everyone keeps asking questions they want to know the answer to, because trying to keep a site active with everyone posting just for the sake of it, is not going to keep going on forever.)

  • That was über-meta! You got the finer point that defines the site :) – brasofilo Jul 19 '15 at 17:55
  • 1
    Another bonus is, when you write in [language] with mistakes, someone will edit your text to improve it, later, and you can learn from the mistakes. – ANeves Jul 20 '15 at 13:22
5

I also don't see a problem, as long as it's clear to newcomers that questions in English are welcomed.

Don't forget that Portuguese and English, for all their differences, share many:

  • words that look similar and have similar meanings
  • letters that are the same and have similar sounds
  • grammatical constructs

(You can insist that English is not a Latin-based language until you're blue in the face, but there is a ton of shared vocabulary and morphology.)

I know nothing about Japanese grammar, but I know the vocabulary and alphabet are significantly different from European languages, and I know StackExchange has lots of users that speak languages that come from Europe. Could that be part of why their questions are mainly in English?

Coming from English (and having seen other Romance languages) I found myself able to read much of the Portuguese in a newspaper long before I was able to understand or speak it. (To be honest, I'm still terrible at speaking it.)

I think that because of the similarities between Portuguese and other European languages, immersion will work for a lot of users. Any confusions can be the source of new questions, after all, especially when people feel welcome to post in English.

4

From your question:

[...] But that's becoming the opposite of this site's proposal, that is to be a good source of information in just one place for people learning Portuguese. But if a great part of the questions and answers are in Portuguese, what would be the benefit for those who know just a little? [...]

What for people who don't know English or any other language also other than Portuguese? This site is not a "Portuguese Language for non-native speakers" nor is it something like "Portuguese Language for native speaking answerers and non-native speaking questioners", it is simply "Portuguese Language", which also includes questions coming from native speakers.

I expect that people wanting to take the "Enem" or a "vestibular" exam or a "concurso público" to eventually ask questions here a lot about things that will be on the "Língua Portuguesa" part of the exam. The same for kids and teens in schools that have questions about the homework or the schools's exams. And there is simply no point in ever requiring English for those people regarding to those questions. Further, I expect that native speakers will be more than 95% of our users and that they will be asking questions that native speakers have.

About Japanese Language, the reason that makes few people ask questions in Japanese is mostly because Stack Exchange still has a low penetration in Japan exactly because most Japanese people are very bad in English, and so the fact that the UI is in English excludes them from ever using the site, and it is really sad that we still have the same barrier here.

  • 1
    Wait, but I'm not saying to just use English, and I'm referring to just English speakers, that is a global language. – Yuuza Jul 16 '15 at 21:04
  • @BrunoLopes Yes, English is a global language. But on this site particularly, it is not. Guess what is the main language on this site? So on your last sentence on your question: "Why to leave all the questions in the language they still don't understand?" - The language that most of the users don't understand is English, not Portuguese. – Victor Stafusa Jul 16 '15 at 21:09
  • @VictorStafusa That's true for now. However, depending on how the beta is managed, we may be flooded with nonnative students of Portuguese and become more like ELL than ELU (which I would consider a bad outcome). I think it's too early to predict which way it'll end up. – Frank Jul 16 '15 at 21:30
  • @Frank, exactly! And what Bruno Lopes is proposing would drive us towards the PLL side instead of the PLU side. The site audience embraces both, but the main focus is the PLU, not the PLL. – Victor Stafusa Jul 16 '15 at 21:56
  • Wait, so if this is a PLU and learners are kicked out of here, why is there "learners" in the description in Area 51? – Yuuza Jul 16 '15 at 22:07
  • @BrunoLopes Because we are not kicking the PLL at all, we are just preferring to be a PLU than a PLL, without kicking the PLL. We are both at the same time, but the PLU weights a lot more than the PLL. – Victor Stafusa Jul 16 '15 at 22:13
  • OK, understood.. – Yuuza Jul 16 '15 at 22:15
  • 2
    @BrunoLopes That is also what I meant. PLU should take priority over PLL (but not eliminate it) because we want the site to attract a community of experts in the language. Regarding your edit to the OP, I am sympathetic to translating from PT to EN, just not demanding that everything be translated to EN. I've put up my answer explaining (which I started this morning before having to leave for work). – Frank Jul 16 '15 at 23:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .