Folksonomies in Japanese

OK, I need some help from people who speak Japanese.

This post is about folksonomies (tagging), and how it might be really hard in Japanese. This is mostly speculation at this point, please comment or email me if you speak Japanese.

On the Sigia-L list, Fiona Bradley writes: “I don’t know Cantonese, but I have just started to learn Japanese and it’s not necessarily that the definitions of emotions are different, just that they are a lot more complex than in English once you factor in politeness levels and directness. And then there’s all the complications that arise from having many Kanji to choose from and many readings for each. If you’re just assigning a single word to a photo for instance, with no other words to define context, that may make the system quite difficult to search.

Bear in mind I’m a total beginner and others may know a lot more about this sort of thing, and I could be completely wrong!

I do know a guy that has written a book on English idioms for Cantonese speakers because those parts of language are almost impossible to translate. I don’t know if many folksonomy sites are using idiomatic tags but if they are, it’s another level of difficulty.”

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On the Sigia-L list (the archive is broken), Billie Mandel writes:

“I studied Russian for a year or so at university, and what fascinated me most about it was the manifold ways of expressing the English verb “to go” – you can go once or multiple times, on foot or by vehicle, go directly there/back or permit yourself to meander on the way, and express all of this intent in one simple verb selection. So when a Russian speaker tells me “I’m going to the store,” s/he has comparatively given me much more information than the comparable English speaker (native Russian speakers, please correct me if you disagree – this was my impression as a non-native learner).
These issues seem quite relevant to taxonomies that are meant for international audiences, or in a localization context. Usable structure for information and the level at which a given category is perceived could vary between languages, because of this kind of language-based cognitive difference (though I did once have this conversation with a linguist who thought this was absolute crap). Interesting to think about what it means in the context of bottom-up folksonomy – how this kind of one-to-many/vice versa map will develop in the chaotic universe of international web users.”

I am considering organizing an information architecture workshop in Barcelona, and I’m looking for feedback.

A day should be good, maybe a Saturday?

How about half a day of basics (taxonomies, cv’s, …), then half a day of advanced topics (facets, i18n ia, …). Comments welcome!

Other questions.
– Should it be in English or Spanish?
– What would be a good location?
– Are there enough people interested in this in Barcelona?