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Welcome to Glottopedia!

Glottopedia is a web-based free-content encyclopedia of linguistics that any linguist can contribute to. If you are logged in, you can edit nearly every article just by clicking on the Edit button at the top of the page.

Getting started

Don’t be afraid of using and editing Glottopedia. You cannot make any serious mistakes, and your contributions will be valuable to other linguists. If you have questions, please ask in our Forum. The Glottopedia community will help you.

If you want to join, please go to this page and follow the instructions. Please do not use a pseudonym as account name. Your user name should be your real name or very similar to it, as we want readers to be able to see quickly who created the articles.

Once you are logged in, you will see your personal links at the very top of the page. The first one is a link to your user page. At the beginning this link is red. This means that the page does not exist yet. For identification purposes, you should create this user page and include in it your academic background (your current or past academic affiliation). You don't have to be a professor or have a current affiliation: Students and independent scholars are very welcome. But you should have some academic background, i.e. you should have been enrolled in a linguistics programme at some point in the past. You can also say what your linguistic interests are, which languages you speak or understand, and so on. (This could help others to find specialists to answer particular questions.)

The second link “my talk” leads you to your personal talk page. Every user and every article has such a talk page (or discussion page). If you contribute there you are asked to always sign your posts by --~~~~. The software will substitute the four tildes by your personal signature, adding a time&date stamp. This will help others to follow the discussion.

Once you joined the Glottopedia community, you should check your personal preferences. You reach them by clicking on the third link at the top of the page. There you find several tabs where you can set up your user account.

The link my watchlist will take you to a log page where you see the last edits on all pages that you observe. You can observe an article or user page if you click on the “watch” button on top of the article page. Then this page is added to your watchlist. For removing a page from your watchlist you find a link “Show and edit complete watchlist” if you are in it.

The fifth link my contributions leads you to another log page. There you can see what you have done so far. Please note that deleted edits, thus edits on pages that have been deleted meanwhile, are not shown on this list. You will find a list of deleted files here.

If you want to log out just click on the “log out” button right at the very top of the page.


How to find an article

Browsing Glottopedia is really simple. You just type the term or name you want to know about into the "search" box at the left margin and click on the "Go" button. If the article already exists you will get there. If not, you will get a full text search result. You can force this full text search if you do not click on "Go" but on "Search".


In most articles, you find some blue and some red words. The blue words lead you to other existing articles explaining the appropriate word (or name). The red words indicate that the corresponding article does not exist yet. You can write it and thereby contribute to Glottopedia! Sometimes you will find words in a light blue color. These are also links but lead you outside Glottopedia into the world wide web.


In all articles and Glottopedia pages you will find a bottom line named "Category:" or "Categories:". The categories tell you which language an article is written in, what kind of article type it belongs to, and which area of linguistics the article it falls into. This page is an article explaining features of Glottopedia (a "project page"), thus it is in the category "Glottopedia", and it is in English, so it has the category "En". If you click on a category name, you will find the other articles belonging to the category.


Glottopedia is an internet encyclopedia that every logged-in linguist can contribute to. Every article has an underlying source code where it is possible to format text, tables, boxes, etc. or to include internal and external links, headlines, and later even pictures (not allowed yet). One of the tabs at the upper edge of any Glottopedia page (an article or a project page), is the "edit" button. Some pages are blocked from editing by non-sysops. Those pages do not have the "edit" button, but a button named "view source". After clicking on these buttons, you see the source code of the corresponding page in both cases. If the page is free for editing, you may change the source code.

Editing a page implies the following steps:

  1. Click on the "edit" button.
  2. Change what you want to change, but be careful not to delete useful information.
  3. Write into the "Summary" field (below the copyright warning) what you have done (in a few words).
  4. Press "show preview" to see if your changes work as you want. If you included new categories you will find them below the edit part of the page at the bottom. Note that the page is not yet saved when you are in the preview mode!
  5. Scroll down again and press "Save page" to store your changes in the database.

How to format text

As you see in many articles, text can be formated in different ways. The simplest tools are the buttons above the edit window. Once you are more experienced you may find it more practical to write the formating signs manually.

Format Input Output
italic text ''Lorem ipsum'' Lorem ipsum
bold text '''Lorem ipsum''' Lorem ipsum
internal link [[Lorem ipsum]] Lorem ipsum
internal link
with different content
[[Linguipedia:Forum|Lorem ipsum]] Lorem ipsum
external link http://lorem.ipsum http://lorem.ipsum
external link
with referrer
[http://lorem.ipsum] [1]
external link
with different content
[http://lorem.ipsum Lorem ipsum] Lorem ipsum
headline level 1 ==Lorem ipsum==
headline level 2 ===Lorem ipsum===
headline level 3 ====Lorem ipsum====
headline level 4 =====Lorem ipsum=====
underlined text <u>Lorem ipsum</u> Lorem ipsum
deleted text <strike>Lorem ipsum</strike> Lorem ipsum
subscribed text Lorem <sub>ipsum</sub> Lorem ipsum
superscribed text Lorem <sup>ipsum</sup> Lorem ipsum
colored text <font color='#80D030'>Lorem ipsum</font> Lorem ipsum

Please do not use formated text excessively within the articles.

How to implement an advanced auto-numbering function

Now it is possible to use the extension GlossCnt for implementing independent counters for an entire article. See more here.

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