Languages are dying, but is the internet to blame? (Wired UK)Quicklink submitted By Rob Kall Permalink
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The UN has identified linguistic diversity as one of the key challenges that must be overcome if more people are to come online. But how many languages should the internet support?
Despite an increasing diversity of languages online, English is still dominant. Of the 10 million most popular websites, 55.2% are in English. The only other languages to make much of a mark are French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish -- ranging between four and 5.8% of those websites.
The internet's western bias is best understood when considering Hindi, a native language for some 310 million people worldwide. Despite being the fourth most spoken native language, less than 0.1% of the 10 million most popular websites are in Hindi. Hindi's problem is not unique; grouped together, the Chinese language is used on just 2.4 to 2.8% of websites, despite having an estimated 1.2 billion native speakers.