Languages used on the Internet
Slightly over half of the homepages of the most visited websites on the World Wide Web are in English, with varying amounts of information available in many other languages. Other top languages are Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Persian, French, German and Japanese.
Of the more than 7,000 existing languages, only a few hundred are recognized as being in use for Web pages on the World Wide Web.
There is debate over the most-used languages on the Internet. A 2009 UNESCO report monitoring 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 percent in 1998 to 45 percent in 2005. The authors found that English remained at 45 percent 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 on the World Wide Web.
The number of non-English web pages is rapidly expanding. The use of English online increased by around 281 percent from 2001 to 2011, a lower rate of growth than that of Spanish (743 percent), Chinese (1,277 percent), Russian (1,826 percent) or Arabic (2,501 percent) over the same period.
According to a 2000 study, the international auxiliary language Esperanto ranked 40 out of all languages in search engine queries, also ranking 27 out of all languages that rely on the Latin script.
Content languages for websites
W3Techs estimated percentages of the top 10 million websites on the World Wide Web using various content languages as of January 31, 2021:
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.
The figures from the W3Techs study are based on the one million most visited websites (i.e., approximately 0.27 percent 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 (e.g., all of Wikipedia is based on the language detection of http://www.wikipedia.org). As a consequence, the figures show a significantly higher percentage for many languages (especially for English) as compared to the figures for all websites. The figures for all websites are unknown, but some sources estimate below 50 percent for English; see for instance, Towards a multilingual cyberspace and the 2009 UNESCO report.
Internet users by language
InternetWorldStats estimates of the number of Internet users by language as of March 31, 2020:
|5||Indonesian / Malaysian||198,029,815||4.3%|
|1-10||Top 10 languages||3,525,027,347||76.9%|
Wikipedia page views by language
|Rank||Language||Daily page views (average during the last year with "Agent"="User" on 4 January 2021)|
- Computer recycling
- Computer technology for developing areas
- English in computer science
- Global digital divide
- Great Firewall of China
- Internationalization and localization
- Internet in China
- Internet in Russia
- Internet censorship and surveillance by country
- Language localization
- List of countries by number of broadband Internet users
- List of countries by number of Internet hosts
- List of countries by number of Internet users
- Rural Internet
- Website localization
- "Usage statistics of content languages for websites". w3techs.com. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- 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.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "What continents have the most indigenous languages?". Ethnologue. 3 May 2019.
- Rotaru, Alexandru. "The foreign language Internet is good for business". Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- Grefenstette, Gregory; Nioche, Julien. "Estimation of English and non-English Language Use on the WWW". Proceedings of RIAO'2000, "Content-Based Multimedia Information Access", Paris, April 12–14, 2000, pp. 237-246.
- "Technologies Overview". W3Techs. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- An alternative approach to produce indicators of languages in the Internet Pimienta, Daniel, June 2017
- NET.LANG: Towards a multilingual cyberspace Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine MAAYA (coord.), Laurent Vannini and Hervé le Crosnier (eds.), Maaya Network, C&F éditions, March 2012, 446 pp., ISBN 978-2-915825-08-4
- "Number of Internet Users by Language", Internet World Stats, Miniwatts Marketing Group, 31 March 2020, accessed 10 May 2020
- List of Wikipedias/Table2, Wikimedia, read on January 4th 2021
- Internet World Users by Language, Internet World Stats.
- "Estimation of English and non-English Language Use on the WWW", Gregory Grefenstette and Julien Nioche, in Proceedings of RIAO'2000, Content-Based Multimedia Information Access, Paris, 12–14 April 2000, pp. 237–246.
- World GDP by Language 1975–2002, Mark Davis, Unicode Technical Note #13 (2003).
- "Writing the Web’s Future in Many Languages", Daniel Sorid, New York Times, 30 December 2008.
- Statistical Survey Report on Internet Usage in China, China Internet Network Information Center (2009), English translation.
- List of CNNIC statistical reports, China Internet Network Information Center (1997-2010).
- Measuring Linguistic Diversity on the Internet, UNESCO (2006).
- Twelve years of measuring linguistic diversity in the Internet, UNESCO (2009).
- Language Observatory, Japan Science and Technology Agency (2012).
- Observatory of linguistic and cultural diversity on the Internet, FUNREDES/MAAYA