Clean up currently available lexicons

Thank you. I have corrected all three mistake. Selete (Botswana) should be removed from the lexicon as well as the misspelling Setswapng. They were my mistakes.


Please consider keeping prefixes for names of southern African languages. The prefix shows the word is a language. Tswana would be wrong and perhaps meaningless without the correct prefix Se and only understandable or acceptable to an English person without the prefix. What is wrong with Setswana as the iNat language name ?Can’t iNat language names in Africa be made afrocentric rather than anglocentric, just to keep the English natives happy ! Perhaps iNat should consider removing superfluous suffixes. Do we really need SH at the end of a language name ? Can’t the names Engl, Wel, Ir, Span, Swed, Dan,Turk be used if suffixes and prefixes are an iNat taboo ? It would be much simpler and words would be shorter.
Why does iNat feel a strong need to perpetuate the linguistic mistakes of the colonial British in southern Africa, while African Govts are trying to reafricanise the names of their languages and shake off the colonial legacy of fake or wrong English names? This implies there is a need to select the correct and most acceptable and up-to-date name for each language. Is it going to be Swazi, Siswati or Swati ? Which is most correct and acceptable to somebody living in Eswatini ( not colonial Swaziland }. Names of countries get changed and corrected so why not languages as well ? Please consider keeping the correct language prefixes !

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Please keep the Botswana language Selete and dont remove the prefix to change the language name to Lete. Lete is a language name in Ghana. Prefixes are sometimes useful since they inform us which part of Africa the language name belongs to. They also group similar languages/dialects together in the language list. Does iNat need to emulate the mistakes of Wiki by removing important prefixes ?

Coming from iKapa (Cape Town) where the local language is isiXhosa - it amuses me that the website is called

Africa rules!

iKapa - altho the Wiki should use i not I

I wonder why and who chose to name us ‘i Naturalist’ ?


In fact those language names should all be searchable. With the main entry under the singe ‘default accepted English’ version.
In the same way that we can search for taxonomy synonyms.
A living language is a life form, and the name changes as history unfolds. And is rewritten. (Or reinvented)

I wonder how many people using iNat in English (or Spanish or …) are working with their second, or even third language?

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Ju Hoan, Ju|'hoan, Juǀ’Hoan → Juǀ’hoan

Why use a letter L to replace a click symbol. Surely Wiki is wrong to rename the language in this way or leave out the | because it is difficult to pronounce by some.

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It is not a lowercase L, it is the dental click character. The font used here in the forum renders both in a similar way.

If characters are left out of a name, would that not also be renaming the language?

The script was run and is now scheduled to run monthly.


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@tiwane has the script stopped Setswana from being used as a language in Botswana ? this is the language name that would be used in Southern Africa and in Botswana.
Most plant and animal names have been entered for Botswana using the language name Setswana rather than Tswana ( I think about 2000 names). Now it seems that iNat can only accept the language name Tswana, which is rarely used on iNaturalist. The other languages of Botswana begin with Se and this is acceptable for iNat ( Setawana, Sekwena, Setswapong, Sengwaketse, Selete, Sengwato) so why not Setswana as well !. If the iNaturalist website is ever translated into Setswana which should be one of our goals in Botswana, then surely the proper language name Setswana should be used for taxa rather than the improper name Tswana ? Who has decided that the English nickname for Setswana should be Tswana ?

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@kueda would be the one to answer specific questions about the script.

There are a lot of languages that have a different name in English than in the language itself… almost all of them, actually. The ISO name for this language in English is “Tswana” so that’s the convention we’re adopting, just like the ISO name for “Japanese” is “Japanese” and not “日本語” or “nihongo.” To your question of who decided the name was “Tswana,” the answer is the International Organization for Standardization. I decided that adopting their standard would be easier than arguing about the names of language, in the same way that we try not to have arguments about taxonomy by sticking to external authorities. If you think I was wrong, let me know if you’d like me to bring it up in a meeting of our web team so other iNat staff have a chance to overrule me.

If “Tswana” is not the name in use for a particular place, let’s deal with that using translation on Crowdin. I can turn on the “English (South Africa)” locale for people in that country, and I can make ones for other locales if people want them, e.g. “English (Botswana)”. Let me know what variant(s) of English you think we should support and I can turn them on and point you to the place in Crowdin where you can localize this language name for those locales. If you’re bothered by inconsistency, I can update the lexicon cleaning script to enforce the ISO standard for other languages too, if you let me know which ones you’d like to standardize.


Duplicate Lexicons (struckout lexicons are already in the clean up script)
Ju Hoan, Ju|'hoan, Juǀ’Hoan, Juǀ’hoan
Oshi Kwanyama, Oshikwanyama, Kwanyama ( Ovamboland), Kwanyama
Papiamentu, Papiamento
Punjab, Punjabi
Si Lozi, Silozi
Swati, Si Swati, Swazi

Possible Duplicate Lexicons
‘U.S.D.A. Symbol’ = ‘Usda Plant Code’ @bobby23 ?

About 2000 of the names without a lexicon are duplicated in English. Mostly reptiles, looks like a very old import that didn’t resolve the lexicon. Could these duplicates be removed by the script?

Many of the fish names without a lexicon can be manually resolved using the common name lists.

The majority of names in the “Mandarin Chinese” and “Chinese” lexicons are duplicated in “Chinese (Simplified)” or “Chinese (Traditional)”

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What kind of lexion is Frisian? Is it not an incorrect version of West-Frisian?
I support the interpretation of Strudel_97, but expect his proposal for ‘‘Saterland Frisia’’ will not be supported.

@kueda I would like Frisian to be discussed in your webteam. There is no lexicon Frisian in the Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages

I guess countries need to pressure/lobby IOS to use proper spellings of their language names. If most names of species have already been added for Botswana using Setswana rather than Tswana, is that going to be reversed and will be Setswana completely be removed from iNat ? Other languages in Botswana begin with the prefix SE and that is acceptable to iNat. Surely most people interested in Setswana names would be in Botswana or S Africa and not in USA or Europe where Tswana is the prefered language name. I dont think there would be many people ouside of Southern Africa who would be interested in Setswana/Tswana names. How do we make iNat more appealing and acceptable to Africans and less biased to American usage ? We are having tremendous difficulty in ‘selling’ iNaturalist to Batswana here in Botswana. Perhaps it is seen as being too American with Americanisation of names !
My concern is that local people in Botswana may not know the word Tswana and shall try to use the language name Setswana which wont be accepted by iNat. They shall then give up trying to enter Setswana names into iNat. We need to find a way of telling people in Botswana that the proper word for their language on iNat is Tswana and not Setswana. I need to teach my 7 year old granddaughter who is a Setswana speaker not to use the the word Setswana on iNat which she is learning to use. If she used the word Tswana in School as a language name it would be marked wrong !
@Song-dog @tiwane does iNaturalist need to be more ‘Africanised’ otherwise it will always be unacceptable and unused by Africans here in southern Africa and be a preserve of white people and tourists.
Names of countries and towns are being decolonised so why not language names as well. Swaziland has become Eswatini, Peking has become Beijing, Bechuanaland has become Botswana. Why cant Tswana be decolonised and become Setswana ? These names are just inventions of the colonial masters. Perhaps IOS needs to be decolonised !
@Kueda despite my emotional feelings you are doing a great job tidying up the lexicon. Thank you.

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@tiwane Doesnt ISO 638.2 define the correct language code in three letters rather than the correct American English name for a language. I dont think it is reliable for defining the best Englsh name which may not be standardised,
We are exrtremely fortunate in Africa that by far the majority of languages do not appear on this list so that their names are not truncated and colonised by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress probably made a big mistake in changing Setswana to Tswana in American English, but who is it accountable to ?
There are so many inconsistencies and a lot of languages have multiple American English names on this list. Some are relics of the colonial period and others more acceptable for local speakers. Perhaps ISO 638.2 is a mess of multiple American English names just as the iNat lexicon is and also needs a lot of tidying up.

As an example the ISO accepts three English names for one language Pedi, Sepedi and Nothern Sotho. Does this mean that the three names will also be acceptable in the iNat lexicon ?
I think Sepedi is most correct and should be used.

Did the ISO make a mistake in leaving out Setswana and only having Tswana- the Americanised name.

Since the ISO doesnt standardise the English names but only the codes I think iNaturalist should be free to create its own standand names which are most acceptable to native speakers. We are not enslaved to the Library of Congress and slavishly have to follow what they have ordained. However I see no reason in not accepting their three letter language codes- the true Standard !

The ISO doesnt Americanise all language names and I hope it doesnt.
Most languages can remain as they are used by native speakers.
Languages need to be protected from the decisions of the Library of Congress, if they are going to impose its own brand of English and try to make standard American names !

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It’s not immediately clear if this was intended as Frisian the language family or a shortening of West-Frisian (or another Frisian dialect). None of the Frisian lexicons have names duplicated on the same taxon. 18 of the 22 Frisian names have been contributed by a single user, perhaps you could message them to query which dialect they intended?

I am afraid this user did not respond… I tried this before to prevent to ‘‘put a sticking plaster on a wooden leg’’.

second mail send


Frisian->West Frisian.

:-) .
The source is The owner of this website lives in ‘‘zuidoosten van Fryslân’’ where they speak West Frisian. This website is in Dutch. So at least 18 records of the Frisian lexicon should be West Frisian.