Languages of the Internet
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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This paper reports on research sponsored by Unesco to provide reliable data on the extent to which the WWW is becoming a means for minority language groups to publish information and reach the general public. These are the first findings of what is intended to be a world wide enquiry. We report on the Web presence of a group of European languages, all of which have minority status in the states in which they are spoken. They are various dialects of Occitan3 in France, Sardinian, Piemontese and Ladin in Italy and Frisian in the Netherlands. The research confirms that these languages are used extensively on the Internet. However, it also finds that the domains in which they are used are quite restricted and mirror to a large degree the situation in traditional print publishing. Thus the WWW may only be having an influence on volume of publishing and is not necessarily extending the use of the languages to new areas. Thirdly, it records substantial publishing by private individuals and finds that there are possible consequences here for standardisation of minority languages. The research is comparative and ongoing and will explore whether the European situation is typical or exceptional.


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