Languages used on the Internet

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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.[1][2] Other top languages, according to W3Techs, are Russian, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, and Persian. [3]

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.[4][1]

Languages used[edit]

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.[2] 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.[2]

Ongoing monitoring by W3Techs showed that in March 2015, just over 55 percent of the most visited websites had English-language homepages.[1] Other top languages that are used at least in 2 percent of the one million most visited websites according to W3Techs are Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Portuguese.[1]

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).[5] As a consequence, the figures show a significantly higher percentage for many languages (especially for English) as compared to the figures for all websites.[6] The figures for all websites are unknown, but some sources estimate below 50 percent for English; see for instance, Towards a multilingual cyberspace [7] and the 2009 UNESCO report.[2]

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.[8]

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.[9]

Content languages for websites[edit]

W3Techs estimated percentages of the top 10 million websites on the World Wide Web using various content languages as of March 2018:[3]

Content languages for websites as of 12 March 2014[1]
Rank Language Percentage
1 English 54%
2 Russian 6.0%
3 German 5.9%
4 Spanish 4.9%
5 French 4.0%
6 Japanese 3.4%
7 Portuguese 2.9%
8 Italian 2.3%
9 Persian 2.0%
10 Polish 1.8%
11 Chinese 1.7%
12 Dutch 1.2%
13 Turkish 1.2%
14 Czech 1.0%
15 Korean 0.9%
16 Vietnamese 0.7%
17 Arabic 0.6%
18 Greek 0.5%
19 Hungarian 0.5%
20 Swedish 0.5%
21 Romanian 0.4%
22 Slovak 0.4%
23 Danish 0.3%
24 Indonesian 0.3%
25 Finnish 0.3%
26 Thai 0.3%
27 Bulgarian 0.2%
28 Ukrainian 0.2%
29 Hebrew 0.2%
30 Norwegian Bokmål 0.2%
31 Croatian 0.2%
32 Lithuanian 0.1%
33 Serbian 0.1%
34 Norwegian 0.1%
35 Slovenian 0.1%
36 Catalan 0.1%
37 Latvian 0.1%
38 Estonian 0.1%
39 Hindi 0.1%
40 Azerbaijani 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]

InternetWorldStats estimates of the number of Internet users by language as of April 30, 2019:[10]

Rank Language Internet
users
Percentage
1 English 1,105,919,154 25.2%
2 Chinese 863,230,794 19.3%
3 Spanish 344,448,932   7.9%
4 Arabic 226,595,470   5.2%
5 Portuguese 171,583,004   3.9%
6 Indonesian / Malaysian 169,685,798   3.9%
7 French 144,695,288   3.3%
8 Japanese 118,626,672   2.7%
9 Russian 109,552,842   2.5%
10 German 92,304,792   2.1%
1-10 Top 10 languages 3,346,642,747   76.3%
- Others 1,039,842,794  23.7%
Total 4,386,485,541 100%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Usage of content languages for websites". W3Techs.com. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  2. ^ 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.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ The World Languages Statistics
  4. ^ "Technologies Overview". W3Techs. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  5. ^ An alternative approach to produce indicators of languages in the Internet Pimienta, Daniel, June 2017
  6. ^ NET.LANG: Towards a multilingual cyberspace MAAYA (coord.), Laurent Vannini and Hervé le Crosnier (eds.), Maaya Network, C&F éditions, March 2012, 446 pp., ISBN 978-2-915825-08-4
  7. ^ Rotaru, Alexandru. "The foreign language Internet is good for business". Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Number of Internet Users by Language", Internet World Stats, Miniwatts Marketing Group, 30 April 2019, accessed 30 April 2019

External links[edit]