Sunday, June 18, 2023

Languages of the Internet


Rest of World - "What languages dominate the internet?"

"Combined, the two data sets suggest significant over- and under-representation. English, German, and Japanese command a much larger portion of the internet than they do among native speakers. By contrast, many non-European languages hardly exist on the internet at all.

For some international groups, these discrepancies are an ominous sign for the future. As early as 2003, UNESCO was urging the public and private sectors to maintain online content in the full range of human languages. But as the web has grown, the gap between spoken language and what’s used on the internet has only grown.

Bhanu Neupane, a program manager at UNESCO who works with language inequity, told Rest of World we might be moving towards a world where only a handful of languages are meaningfully present online. “The world is converging,” Neupane said. “And after 15 years, there could be just five or 10 languages that are prominently spoken and used in business and online. So we’re very concerned about this.”"

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