When it comes to preserving language diversity, technology is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the Internet makes it easier than ever before to preserve dying languages and to allow people to learn them. On the other hand, technological advances often favor certain languages over others.
Here are some of the ways technology geared toward English speakers is leaving some languages behind, along with the people who speak them.
Lack of Online Content
In the beginning, most Internet content was in English. This has steadily declined over time, and the latest numbers show only 52% of languages are written in English.
That’s good news for people who don’t speak English . . . but only if they speak one of the select few other languages with a significant online presence. As Katherine Schwab noted in the Atlantic, only 5% of the world’s languages are even represented online.
Even national languages like Hindi, with the third-highest number of total speakers in the world, are woefully under-represented, used on a mere .01 percent of the 10 million most popular websites.
And what good is Internet access if you can’t understand the content? Read more