As we all know we have a policy that we discourage questions that are on a single language.

I understand that this would filter out things like English usage questions that laypeople thing often mistakenly think are in the realm of linguistics.

This makes sense because a) such questions are not linguistic and b) there is English Language & Usage specifically to deal with them, and now counterparts for Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

But is this the only reason? It seems that apart from this we are blocking potentially interesting linguistic question for an arbitrary reason.

If there is a sound reason I think we need a page we can use to direct people to explaining why.

If not shouldn't we rethink our rules and scope.

  • Usage questions definitely don't belong here.
  • Non-linguistic questions about a single language that has its own L&U site definitely don't belong here.
  • But what about linguistic questions about a single language?
  • We have an older q/a on this topic you should also read but I think it's worth revisiting: Are questions about a single language on topic? Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 9:05
  • Accepting on Meta is as important as on the Main site. :) If my answer solves the problem, consider accepting it. Also for future reference.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


Edit: the FAQ has been reworded. (On topic questions, point number 6)

Well, maybe the FAQ needs some re-wording but it's more or less like this. Basically we discouraged, or intended to, very easy questions like etymology ones. But I have an idea:

We can accept single words questions as long as:

  1. There is an evident research effort in the question;
  2. The question is related to Linguistics and it's not simply a language question.
  • 1
    Did you mean to say "single words questions"? I'm asking about single language questions. Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 10:06
  • 2
    Ah right. Well, it can apply to both, no? I don't see a problem with that personally. What is your opinion on this?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 11:17
  • How about adding that "The question is aligned toward how languages work in general and not about learning or teaching a particular language"?
    – Louis Rhys
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 13:46
  • At the beginning of the FAQ I wrote: "If you have questions about grammar, usage, etc., this might not be your place (Ask in Chat or Meta if you're not sure); in case you're sure, or if we confirm that your question would better be asked in another site, consider visiting the Language related StackExchange sites (Search "Language" in the search bar)." Is that enough in your opinion?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 17:35

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