Language dropbar/flags under username

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Language dropbar/flags under username

Postby sillygoose1 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:55 pm

Instead of typing out the languages and having it look all messy, I was thinking that we could get some more aesthetic on the forum. Similar to the old forum or the FI3M/Unilang forums where you can add flags corresponding the the languages you know.
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Re: Language dropbar/flags under username

Postby Luso » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:38 am

I suggested that at some point, but apparently there were reasons against it.

This is the thread:
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Re: Language dropbar/flags under username

Postby Iversen » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:41 am

The thread mentioned by Luso contains a discussion about flags, but it starts out with a technical discussion that isn't really relevant for the flag question. So let me just give a few arguments agains the use of flags, namely that

1) some languages are spoken in several countries so..
1a) either you have to allow all flags of countries where any language is spoken by a sizeable part of the population, or..
1b) some members will be forced to use a flag from an irrelevant country, which even may have another variant of the language than the one used by the member (like if Luso had to mark Brazil to indicate his native Portuguese)

2) some languages aren't spoken anywhere (a), or they are minority languages in those where they are spoken (b). OK, you could use the flag of the Vatican for Latin, but what about the native American languages of the USA? And what if you study Ancient Greek AND modern Dhimotiki - should the current white-and-blue Greek flag then figure twice? Which flag should be used for Kurdish?

3) who can recognize more than a handful of flags? Not me, and I'm even an intrepid traveller who have visited many of the countries whose flags I have forgotten.

If we should rationalize the indications of language then it would be preferable to use some standarized language codes, like "eo" for Esperanto. Such systems do exist, but some of these codes may also be confusing. So I'm personally inclined to prefer the present chaos. I'm more worried about members who don't indicate their languages or forget to mention to mention their native language.
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Re: Language dropbar/flags under username

Postby aokoye » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:40 am

To add onto Iverson's points. What do you do with when multiple languages are spoken in one country? A related question - what do you do with dialects which could (and in some cases are) arguably be considered languages of their own.

Despite the fact that I'd like looking at flags of nation states, I can only imagine that replacing language names with flags of countries would make it significantly harder to know what language someone is speaking. Part of that has to do with knowing the vague specifics of more languages than flags and part of this has to do with issues that have already been brought up in this thread and the linked thread. If someone has an Indian flag on their language sidebar I will have no idea what language they're studying. The same is true for Belgian, Swiss, South African, and plenty of other flags. Yes with some flags I would unintentionally assume what language is being spoken, but I don't think that's at all useful. Sure if I see a Finnish flag on the side of a profile I'm going to probably assume that the person is studying Finnish. That said for all I know that person is studying a Sami language.

On a more aesthetic note - I also just can't imagine it would make the forum any less cluttered. Yes it would save "physical" space but it would argue that it adds more business.
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Re: Language dropbar/flags under username

Postby tommus » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:16 am

I agree that using flags would be very confusing. In Canada where we have two official languages, would we use the flag of the UK for English and the flag of France for French, or the flag of Canada for Canadian English and the provincial flag of Quebec for Canadian French? That would not only be confusing, but misleading and potentially controversial.

Iversen wrote:I'm more worried about members who don't indicate their languages or forget to mention to mention their native language.

I totally agree with Iversen. Further, I think that every member be "required" to state his/her native language(s) and at least one target language. Why else would they be here? And I think it should be enacted retroactively for current members.
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