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NEW FEATURE: Destination Guides

Travel Forums System Talk NEW FEATURE: Destination Guides

1. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 12y

Well, after months of work on this finally we have something to show. Try clicking on the 'destinations' link at the top of the page to browse through destination specific information that we have compiled and leave your own comments about a destination.

This new area of the site essentially ties together many of our features, from links to travel helpers to accommodation to photography. We have written short descriptions for numerous countries already with more on the way, but we also hope that you will add your comments and personal experiences as well. You will only be able to add your comments to the countries that we have a description for, so the list is currently not complete.. give it a few months though and you should be seeing a very complete directory of destinations :)

Peter

2. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 12y

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to put my two pence in regarding this... we started out with the idea of travellers/members writing information about countries they know a lot about but decided to go with this different option that allows for a bit of both. First, some general information on the country that we had compiled.

Secondly, the possibility for members to share their knowledge on a destination, much like you currently already do in the forum or through travel helping (although that is usually very specific questions). The great thing about these pages is you can leave the broadest of information and it will always be EASILY available to people who are interested in reading up on a country. If someone then wants more specific information, the travel help and forum features are readily available.

Enjoy, and I hope to see lots of members comments coming in!!!

Cheers,

Sam
ps. pass on any feedback you might have either through this forum thread or pop Pete or me a message through the site!

3. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 12y

Peter and Sam,

Great that you've have made the destination guides, looks really, really good.

Have a few comments on Denmark though: only one official language: Danish! On/in Greenland and the Faroe Islands they also speak Danish.

German is NOT an official language, we speak better English as far as I know, apart from those people living within 50-100 km from the German border of course.

Maybe you should also mention that our crown prince is getting married to an Australian woman

cheers
Solvejg

4. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 12y

Hey Sole,

Thanks for the feedback. The data we used has been taken from www.ethnologue.com, which is a fairly reliable (and comprehensive) source of language information.

Here's their breakdown of languages in Denmark (based on what their first language is):

-----

DANISH 5,000,000 in Denmark (1980). Population total all countries 5,326,000. 

FAROESE 47,000 (1976 Stephens).  Faroe Islands.

GERMAN, STANDARD 23,000 first language speakers (1976 Stephens).  North Slesvig (Sydjylland).

INUKTITUT, GREENLANDIC 7,000 on Denmark mainland (1990 L. D. Kaplan).  

----

I guess the header 'National/Official Languages' may be asking for problems though, considering the other ones are pretty minor percentages. ;) If I changed it to just say 'Languages', would that seem better, or do you feel this data is really inaccurate?

5. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 12y

Hi Peter,

Checked www.ethnologue.com and am quite confused

It's true that there are a very few people in the South of Jutland who speak German as in the North of Germany there's the Danish minority that speaks Danish. But it's far from being an official language in my opinion. On the Faroe Islands and on Greenland of course they speak Faroese and Greenlandic but very few in other parts of Denmark speak those languages. I think that most people on the Faroe Islands and on Greenland speak Danish as well. So in my opinion Danish would be the only official language, but of course you could say that Greenlandic and Faroese are official languages as well.

Couldn't help laughing a bit about some of the other "languages" that are seemingly spoken here in Denmark: "Jutish", yes, it's called Jysk and it's a dialect which varies immensely in Jutland, but it's still Danish. Maybe you could compare it with the various parts of England where they speak diffierent dialects as well, but you'd still call it English though you have a Cockney dialect, wouldn't you?

I can recommend that you take a look at CIA's webpage for this information as well, they're very accurate and updates regularly and no copyright apart from CIA's official seal: http://cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html. They also give explanations as to the various languages spoken here in Denmark.

Couldn't you change into 2 sections, one with official language and one with languages spoken? Then English would come in as a language as well as most people below the age of 50 speaks English and lots of people older than 50 speak it as well. It's taught in school from 4th grade and lots of kids down to the age of 11-12 speak English quite well, but wouldn't understand a word of German

Well, this was just my opinion, hope you can use some of it for something. Otherwise I'm still impressed with all the work you're both doing, this is a wonderful website.

Cheers and enjoy the week-end

Solvejg

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 12y

Hi Sole,

I can see your points here and it is actually something which we more or less anticipated. We also used the CIA info but found in other countries that their information (specifically languages) was quite inaccurate....uhmmm, kind of makes you wonder, but then again, after certain recent documentaries and apparent mis information it's logical (ok, no more politics!). So, we decided to go with www.ethnologue.com for the language info as this is where they specialize. It came highly recommended by a certain translator family member as well I believe :)

When it comes to languages, I think it is very tricky to provide accurate data which everyone agrees with. When for example do you say that a language is spoken in a country? There are languages that are only spoken by 100 or so folks on an island and those are considered languages, so therefore if 100 people speak german (raised to speak german (native tongue) as opposed to school taught) in Denmark, that would be considered a language. Of course this data is ever fluctuating as languages die out and to keep information accurate is a pretty tremendous task. English could be considered a language spoken in 90% of countries as borders disappear and more and more people work and travel overseas too. Very tricky.

I think we probably need to go for Official Languages and Other Languages, although I am sure that is going to give us some other problems too... I think a weekend of reflecting is in order... a drink or two tonight might loosen up the brain a little... hehehe

Thanks for the feedback Sole!!!

7. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 12y

Hi Sam,

LOL about your first paragraph. I agree, no more politics. But I didn't even know about the CIA webpage with the country info until a couple of days ago, so I was well impressed, especially as the data on Denmark seemed to be very accurate, but I get your point

About whether it's an official language or not, as for Denmark I've been trying to do a bit of research and so far haven't come up with THE place to look for this information :)

My main point will be: what do you want to achieve by the destination guides? If you want to tell people what they can actually expect from a country, like for instance Denmark, then I would hesitate to name at least German without stating that German is spoken by a minority: only the very small minority in the south of Jutland speak German - and of course those of us who've had German some years in school, but not even that is mandatory any more (as is English). So if people expect to come to Denmark and we will all understand German then I guess quite a few would be very disappointed

Your idea of official languages and other languages is very good, in my opinion. Facts about a country are always great but it's also good to know what you can actually expect. Such as English is widely understood and spoken here in Denmark.

Hope you get my point and no offense intended at all.... I've been sipping a bit of wine tonight as well and been thinking over this with a "loosened up" brain

Have a great week-end

cheers

Solvejg

8. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 12y

Had a weekend away, so have had plenty of time to loosen my brain now ;)

I think you're quite right about the 'what to expect' kind of approach. Certainly naming German in the list (without any percentage indication for example) seems rather misleading. I may stick to a system where we only include languages if they are over a certain percentage - say 30%. Of course, then I have to go through and calculate what percentage each language is :) Another fun project. I've corrected the Denmark languages now btw.

If you think Denmark has been confusing to sort out language wise, have a look at China's list on the ethnologue site!!

To add to Sam's comments on the CIA thing -- one example was Brazil, which another member picked up on because it lists Spanish, English and French. Not a single one of these is mentioned at the ethnologue and supposedly none of these are spoken much in Brazil at all (apart from as they're taught in school). By the way, most of the other facts are taken from the CIA site though and we did clear copyright with the ethnologue site first.

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 12y

Hey Sole and Pete,

I have gone ahead and changed the naming here to just state "Languages" thanks to 'dragana' and her email regarding the official/national languages of Serbia and Montenegro.

I think the official/national description was narrowing it down a little too much for it to be considered accurate. This way I guess there might be some smaller languages missing that might still be spoken but the description doesn't limit what can be listed.

Will continue to keep an eye out for a better solution though as I realize it isn't ideal :)

Sam