There are two Stack Exchange sites for the English language, one for proficient or native speakers (EL&U) and one for foreign learners (ELL). Although the latter is now paralleled somewhat by Language Learning, there are still two to three kinds of questions around here:

  1. DAF: Learners of German as a foreign language asking relatively basic questions which most native speakers should be able to answer. Often asked and answered in English.
  2. native: Proficient (native) speakers of German mostly asking about ambiguous, regional, stylistic or normative issues, which often can be solved by specific references (e.g. not with the Rechtschreibduden alone). Usually asked and answered in German.
  3. scientific: Scholars with linguistic interest in German asking specific, advanced questions that are not as generic as to be on topic on Linguistics and require knowledge that goes beyond mastering the language.

Should we better tag questions by these levels?

There are currently some tuples of tags that apply to one or two of the levels only, e.g. (1–2) vs. (3), see Q1112. Since they’re hardly used as intended, more obvious and generic tags may be in order, I suggest any of these:

  1. ‘Deutsch als Fremdsprache’ = ? or
  2. / or = or
  3. / = or / or (probably confusable with existing :) /

We do have to ask for learning resources and specific already.


I fail to see which purpose those tags would be serving:

  • They are not helpful for finding specific questions and answers, as you cannot necessarily know at what level the asker was or considered their question to be. In some cases, you can make a solid guess, but even then this would require solid tagging, in particular of all past questions. Moreover, at least the tags for purpose 1 and 2 would be much too broad to properly narrow down a search.

  • While I can imagine that somebody would subscribe to or ignore one of these tags, they will probably be disappointed. We cannot expect new users to even be aware of those tags and thus many questions will not be tagged properly initially. Even if those questions are then retagged by experienced users, this will thwart the subscriber’s or ignorer’s intentions in the meantime. For example, if you wish to ignore questions of the first group, your front page will still be cluttered with questions belonging to this group before they are tagged.

See also:

  • I understand, I was mostly thinking about your second bullet point. Anyhow, for daf and germanistik I get into the 12–16 points range of “good tag to have” at MATT, but native-speaker fails. The actual common scale for language proficiency has six levels A1–C2 for my cases #1 and #2, by the way.
    – Crissov
    May 4 '16 at 12:21

I think that the first two categories won't be very helpful. Comparing the the first few recent activities of EL&U and ELL, there aren't many differences between the types of questions. Of course, this analyzes is superficial, but I think, that this theme is very common on those sites.

Furthermore, this seems to me, like it is creating an artificial border between those, who were raised with German and those who were not. Many questions asked by native speakers, are on the same level as those which were asked by learners.

Also, these tags wouldn't be used very often, because there wouldn't be a simple way to determine which of these tags is appropriate and they seem mutually exclusive.

On the other hand, the third category would be a nice idea. This is a clear category, which indicates, what kind of people would be interested and what kind would not.

But I wouldn't call it scientific, because I would associate scientific with terms used in some science context, eg Is Haufensortierung a correct translation for Heap Sort?.

I would prefer linguistic or germanstik.

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