As part of my Coursera experience with the course in Digital Cultures, #EDCMOOC, one of the interesting issues I have observed is that there are 40,000 students (60,000 in another of the Coursera course I am attending), from literally all over the world, and EVERYONE has to communicate in English, as English is the language of the course. My research shows that although Mandarin and Spanish have the largest amount of people who are native speakers, English is still the language of the Internet, at least for a couple more decades.

Julien Leyre

What language is the net written in? A wikipedia page on the question proposes the following charts. These charts are based on estimates as of May 2011, themselves not fully representative of the full net content – but let’s have a look at them all the same.

This one represents the languages used for the contents of the web:

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 3.02.34 PM

This one represents the language spoken by web users

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 3.02.51 PM

Did you notice the discrepancy? English accounts for 57% of all contents – but only 27% of users. And in parallel, Chinese (I suppose this is Mandarin) accounts for 25% of users, but only 5% of contents.

Traditionally, English has been the web’s lingua franca. But non-English contents has grown at a rate much higher than English contents. And it looks like the future of the web will be multilingual. Also, let’s not forget – if 55% of the web is written…

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