Proposal: Hebrew Language

Proposal: Arabic language (اللغة العربية)

Both of these proposals have been proposed before but were closed, and are now only in the definition phase. Moreover, it's a pity that some languages like Aramaic, Ugaritic and Akkadian will never reach the required number of followers to justify a separate site.

The concepts in other semitic languages are relevant to both Arabic and Hebrew, especially from an etymological point of view. There are several study programmes in classical Hebrew worldwide that include courses about Aramaic and other semitic languages to provide students with more context. (I don't know how this is for Arabic.) On research-level there are very interesting publications that use both Hebrew and Arabic data, focusing on phonology, word order, the role and restoration of vowels, aspect, etc.

Sure, for people who come for the modern Hebrew and Arabic, these arguments will be less convincing. But compare to other sites. On Philosophy.SE, some specialise in eastern philosophy, others in classical, others in twentieth-century philosophy. There are always questions on a site that are not of interest to you. But incidentally there are questions about the relationship between different fields, some of which you are familiar with. By separating the sites, these questions don't have a real place. Had Stack Overflow been separated by programming language, there had been no real place for questions about generating dynamic HTML pages using PHP.

For questions written in Arabic, Hebrew, or other languages other than English, I see two solutions. Either don't allow them, or make sure that there is at least one moderator of every spoken language (which will probably only be needed for Hebrew and Arabic).

I believe that using tags for 'arabic', 'hebrew', 'aramaic', 'biblical-hebrew', 'ugaritic', etc., it is possible for users with any specialisation to use the site comfortably, by ignoring / favouring tags. And, if we would merge these two proposals and include other semitic languages, we give questions on linguistics a proper home.

What would you think about creating a new "Semitic languages" proposals by merging the Hebrew and Arabic proposals?

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    I'm actually not sure what to think. (I proposed the Hebrew site.) On one hand, yeah, I speak Hebrew okay (have to, living in Israel) and my Aramaic is... growing, through the Talmud. Yes, I plan on learning some Arabic at some point. I can see this working, and not working. (not to mention that there might be some conflicts between the Hebrew and Arabic speakers...) Like, I don't think most of the Hebrew speakers coming from Mi Yodeya would be interested in Arabic, but they would be interested in Aramaic... I don't know what to think.... – Mithrandir Apr 11 '17 at 19:23
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    There's also that all moderators should understand all posts on the site, so you would need someone who speaks English, Hebrew, and Arabic. How many people like that are currently on SE and have enough experience to moderate a site? – Mithrandir Apr 11 '17 at 19:25
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    @Mithrandir yes, good points. I'm coming from a classical perspective, mostly interested in biblical Hebrew and from that perspective all semitic languages are of interest. It's difficult to make a sensible division (etymologically speaking) that does not include Arabic, but does include, for example, Akkadian. And, at least to some stages of Hebrew, Arabic is very relevant. (All of this is written from the Hebrew perspective because I don't know very well what is relevant to Arabic). – Keelan Apr 12 '17 at 5:52
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    As for the moderators: I personally don't see an issue with requiring all posts to be English. Perhaps on the Arabic side that would be more of an issue, I don't know about that. Another option that would work for me is broadening the scope of the Hebrew proposal to include all stages of languages that are relevant to the development of the Hebrew language, thus excluding modern Arabic. However, I fear that this will not help much with getting more people interested in the proposal... – Keelan Apr 12 '17 at 6:35

I see a big problem community-wise, a joint site for Hebrew and Arabic may work for scholars, but surely not for users and learners of the modern languages.

But there is probably enough potential for a Semitic Languages site besides Hebrew and Arabic (or including Hebrew, but keeping Arabic as the largest Semitic language outside), because there are not only scholars interested in historical Semitic languages, but also large speech communities of the Ethio-Semitic languages (e.g., Amharic and Tigrinya).

A Semitics forum would be welcome. Moderation could be done as a team. I think that there may be a great benefit for allowing not only language learners to post, but also to encourage scientists and coders who are working on digital humanities projects in Semitic languages to post questions and respond to these.

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