Wednesday, October 24, 2007

nepali speakers count...

Kudos to the NepaLinux Team for grabbing "APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize" Award.

In Himalayan Nepal: Where language can propel FOSS

I was interrupted to see the number of nepali speakers - native and worldwide.

[...]The initiative began as an attempt to find makeshift solutions for electronically cataloguing books in the Nepali language (which has seventeen million native speakers, and an estimated 40 million worldwide).[...]

Wow where did this journalist Frederick Noronha find this number? I remember being told to be questionable whenever we see any numbers. On my quest to this uneasy and strange number, this wikipedia page on Nepali Language does infact have the same number

Total speakers: native - 17 million
total-appr. 40 million

What does this total mean - does that mean all the nepali speakers including natives or excluding?

Isn't it exciting to have such a larger user base. Indeed.
17 million at Wikipedia seems to be referenced from this site, which has no references as such.

[...]Nepali is an Indo-Aryan language with around 17 million speakers in Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and India.[...]

Noticed "around"!!

Sometimes this does question the credibility of Wikipedia. Infact it does; even Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, said "For god sake, you are in college, don't cite Wikipedia." in response to the complaints from the students, who emailed Jimmy, saying "Please help me. I got an F on my paper because I cited Wikipedia".

Ok still on my tiny quest and hanging within Wikipedia, I saw another page

[...]According to the 2001 national census, .... The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) are Nepali (49%),[...]

Still from Wikipedia
Population: July 2005 27,133,000

Which means that native nepali speakers would be 13 million. Note the year difference. Granted for now.

We are still in deficit of 4 million native Nepali speakers. Maybe this number have been covered by now, as of today. And now I can't go on with my quest for another 40 million. Let it be for now.


fredericknoronha said...

Thanks for your comment about my quote on the number of Nepali speakers. I would appreciate a correction if I erred. As you guessed, my source was the Wikipedia. I know it can be hard to get accurate figures of speakers of languages. My own language group (Konkani, from the west coast of India) has estimated which vary from 1.4 million to 5+ million speakers. Maybe I should have been more careful...

anjesh said...

Well I didn't mean to point out your mistake nor do I have the exact figure. It just that we, in general, tend to use numbers for granted but as you said, we just need to be a little careful while using numbers. It looks good to use numbers but without proper justification and reliable sources it doesn't serve any purpose. Thanks for your comment.

fredericknoronha said...

Other sources for number of Nepali speakers:

* National language of Nepal which has 22.8 million population using
this language within the country and more outside the country within
the region.

* Nepali (Nepalese) is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the
Indo-European language family. It is spoken by 11 million people in
Nepal, 6 million people in India, and 156,000 in Bhutan. The total
number of speakers of Nepali Nepalis over 17 million (Ethnologue).

* Estimated numbers of native speakers of Nepali range between 16 to 35 million

* Nepali has over 16000000 speakers: 10000000 live in Nepal]

* approx. 30 Million in Nepal.16 Million as native tongue & 15 as a
second language(2006)

* [nep] 11,053,255 in Nepal (2001 census). Population total all
countries: 17,209,255.

Which would you see as more realistic. FN

anjesh said...

I understand it's pretty hard to find the realistic one. Census is supposed to be the official one. But census isn't and can't be carried out whenever needed. There may also be problems with census data. So far it should be considered realistic if really needed to point out.

Anonymous said...

Fred, I guess, we have good numbers of Nepali native speakers from Burma also