While most language concepts are language independent, some are language specific. Should we allow language specific questions?

8 Answers 8


Our site is "Language Learning", it's about the learning a language, so if language specific questions are about learning the language, it would be on-topic.

Questions shouldn't be about the language's spelling/syntax/semantics/etc., they should be about learning it.

Some examples of off-topic questions (feel free to edit more in):

  • What does <insert quote from a book> mean?
  • What is the origin of <insert idom here>?
  • When do you pronounce <insert letter here> in <insert language here>

That said, questions which apply to the process of learning a specific language, should somehow apply to a broader range of "similar" language. I'm not saying that all questions falling under this should be left open, if it has some other flaw such as being primarily-opinion based, it should be closed.

  • 1
    Though I think I agree with your point... it isn't very clear. At least not to me. How would weird English grammar be used in other language? So I think I would emphasize more along the line of: "yes, as long as it is about the process of learning that language and not about the language itself." Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 19:55
  • @bilbo_pingouin I've addressed your points in the edit.
    – Downgoat
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 20:00
  • 6
    +1. A question like Can I learn to roll my R's in Spanish? should be on-topic here, even though it might be on-topic elsewhere as well. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 21:44
  • So to summarize, no questions with "mean" in the title. Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 0:57
  • In short, ask yourself a question: "if my target language is English, would it be on-topic in ELU or ELL?"
    – Ooker
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 6:52

You're asking the wrong question.

The test for whether a question is on-topic here is not whether it is about a specific language or not.

The test is whether or not it is about the practices of language learning.

"What is a liaison in French?" is about a specific language, and it's off-topic, because it's not about how to learn a language.

"How can I effectively memorize the exceptional cases for when to use a liaison in French?" is about a specific language, but it would be on-topic, because it is about the techniques of language learning.


Questions about an individual language are off-topic.

Questions about learning an individual language are on-topic.


I don't see why not. Stack Overflow allows questions on specific programming languages alongside general questions. The balance on LL is likely to lean more towards general questions, but that shouldn't invalidate perfectly on topic questions with more specific scope.

  • 1
    Stack Overflow allows questions on specific programming languages alongside general questions. - but there is no java.stackexchange.com or php.stackexchange.com or cplusplus.stackexchange.com ... you should look for a different analogy.
    – ANeves
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 12:28

I don't see why they need to be off-topic.

The process of learning a new language is highly language-specific. For example, the problems one encounters while learning "Hindi" is completely different from the ones while learning "French".

So, please don't consider them off-topic. It might cripple people who are facing a language-specific learning problem, whose posts might in fact, help other learners.


I think questions specific to learning particular languages should be on-topic, because techniques are likely to vary between languages and language groups - the important thing is to make sure such questions are properly tagged to make the site easy to navigate...


As I noticed there is a separate Stack Exchange site for English Language Learners. And public beta sites for Chinese, French, German and many other languages exist.

As there are SE sites for many individual languages, it will be better to keep the language specific questions off-topic.

  • 7
    Many sites have overlapping topics. That's not necessarily a reason for us to dismiss those. Plus we have a specific view, which is not necessarily covered in those sites. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 21:31

We don't want questions that are "specific" to a single language.

On the other hand, we want questions about concepts in language learning. If there were a question about a broad concept, and you used a specific example in a particular language, that would be acceptable.

  • 7
    @fi12 Because people disagree with it; that's how meta works. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 21:38
  • I almost agree, @TomAu ; but I think that «How can I learn to pronounce the rolling rs in Spanish?» should be a valid question, and this answer would exclude it.
    – ANeves
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 12:26

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