The Internet is turning Red
bab.la has recently completed a research project aiming to show the gap between spoken languages and languages used on the Internet. Not surprisingly, the research confirms that Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. Despite this, it currently lags dramatically behind English on the Internet and is only the second-most used language on this all-important global resource. English is "spoken" on the web by around 450 million people, but Internet user growth in the English-speaking world is slowing. In contrast, the CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Centre) announced that the number of Chinese Internet users increased by 42% in 2008 to a total of 298 million, and has surpassed the USA with its approximately 225 million users for the first time. This high rate of growth is expected to have a significant impact on the Internet in the near future, but exactly how long will it take for these new users to start making a dent in the "English-ness" of the web? According to Erin Gallagher, part of the research team from bab.la, this may be sooner than we thought. "Based on the current levels of growth, we expect to see Chinese overtake English on the web within the next 2-3 years" says Ms Gallagher.
The first two decades of the World Wide Web have been the "English years", the next decade will be Chinese. What is clear is that English is losing its stronghold, and a more worldwide, more accessible, more red web is on the way.
The bab.la World Languages Map can be accessed at http://en.bab.la/news/world-languages.html
bab.la (http://bab.la/) is an interactive language portal offering bilingual dictionaries, vocabulary lessons, language games, and topical quizzes all free. Currently available in 13 different languages (English, Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Turkish), the site operates on a wiki-style model, allowing users to contribute content and feedback.
Email: erin [at] bab.la
Phone: +49 40 707080950
Address: bab.la GmbH, Baumwall 7, 20459 Hamburg, Germany
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