Languages used on the Internet

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The most used language on the Internet is unknown,[1] although about half of the homepages of the most visited sites on the Internet are in English, with varying amounts of information available in many other languages.[2][3]

Languages used[edit]

There is debate over the most-used languages on the Internet. A 2009 UNESCO report monitored the languages of websites for 12 years from 1996 to 2008 found a steady year-on-year decline in the percentage of webpages in English from 75% in 1998 to 45% in 2005.[3] The authors found that English remained at 45% of content for 2005 to the end of the study, but believe this was due to the bias of search engines indexing more English-language content rather than a true stabilization of the percentage of content in English online.[3]

Ongoing monitoring by W3Techs showed that in March 2015, just over 55% of the most visited websites had English-language homepages.[2] Other top languages that are used at least in 2% of the one million most visited websites according to W3Techs are Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Portuguese.[2]

Note, however, that the figures from the W3Techs study are based on the one million most visited websites (i.e., approximately 0.27% of all websites according to December 2011 figures) as ranked by Alexa.com, and language is identified using only the home page of the sites in most cases (i.e., all of Wikipedia is based on the language detection of http://www.wikipedia.org).[4] As a consequence, the figures show a significantly higher percentage for many languages (especially for English) as compared to the figures for all websites.[citation needed] The figures for all websites are unknown, but some sources estimate below 50% for English: see for instance, Towards a multilingual cyberspace[1] and the 2009 UNESCO report[3] referenced earlier.

The number of non-English pages is rapidly expanding. The use of English online increased by around 281% from 2001 to 2011, a lower rate of growth than that of Spanish (743%), Chinese (1,277%), Russian (1,826%) or Arabic (2,501%) over the same period.[5]

Content languages for websites[edit]

Estimated percentages of the top 10 million websites using various content languages as of 18 March 2015:[2]

Content languages for websites as of 12 March 2014[2]
Rank Language Percentage
1 English 55.5%
2 Russian 5.9%
3 German 5.8%
4 Japanese 5.0%
5 Spanish 4.6%
6 French 4.0%
7 Chinese 2.8%
8 Portuguese 2.5%
9 Italian 1.9%
10 Polish 1.7%
11 Turkish 1.5%
12 Dutch 1.3%
13 Persian 0.9%
14 Arabic 0.8%
15 Korean 0.7%
16 Czech 0.7%
17 Swedish 0.5%
18 Vietnamese 0.4%
19 Indonesian 0.4%
20 Greek 0.4%
21 Romanian 0.4%
22 Hungarian 0.3%
23 Danish 0.3%
24 Thai 0.3%
25 Finnish 0.2%
26 Slovak 0.2%
27 Bulgarian 0.2%
28 Norwegian 0.2%
29 Hebrew 0.1%
30 Lithuanian 0.1%
31 Croatian 0.1%
32 Ukrainian 0.1%
33 Norwegian Bokmål 0.1%
34 Serbian 0.1%
35 Catalan 0.1%
36 Slovenian 0.1%
37 Latvian 0.1%
38 Estonian 0.1%

All other languages are used in less than 0.1% of websites. Even including all languages, percentages may not sum to 100% because some websites contain multiple content languages.

Internet users by language[edit]

Estimates of the number of Internet users by language as of December 31, 2013:[6]

Rank Language Internet
users
        
1 English 800,625,314 28.6%
2 Chinese 649,375,491 23.2%
3 Spanish 222,406,379   7.9%
4 Arabic 135,610,819   4.8%
5 Portuguese 121,779,703   4.3%
6 Japanese 109,626,672   3.9%
7 Russian 100,700,000   3%
8 German 81,139,942   2.9%
9 French 78,891,813   2.8%
10 Malay 75,459,025   2%
11–36 Others 440,087,029   15.7%
Total 2.81 Billion 100%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b NET.LANG: Towards a multilingual cyberspace Laurent VAnnini and Hervé le crosnier (eds.), Maaya Network, C&F éditions, March 2012, 446 pp., ISBN 978-2-915825-08-4
  2. ^ a b c d e "Usage of content languages for websites". W3Techs.com. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Pimienta, Daniel, Prado, Daniel and Blanco, Álvaro (2009). "Twelve years of measuring linguistic diversity in the Internet: balance and perspectives". United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 
  4. ^ "Technologies Overview". W3Techs. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Rotaru, Alexandru. "The foreign language Internet is good for business". Archived from the original on 2013-04-07. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Number of Internet Users by Language", Internet World Stats, Miniwatts Marketing Group, 31 May 2011, accessed 22 April 2012

External links[edit]