Languages of the Internet

Yesterday, UNESCO published a report on languages and the Internet (Click here for a PDF version for the whole report). The report is primarily on measurement and methodology, but also shows some results of these measurements. Here are some of my quick observations:

  • English language speakers are still the largest language group on the internet with around 300 million users. The English language domination however is far less than in 2001, mainly due to the growth of Chinese and Japanese speaking/writing internet users (see graph).

  • While in 1998, web pages were still dominantly in English, also this has decreased. In 1998, 75% of all web pages were in English, in 2003 this was around 45%. The ‘other’ in the graph must be mainly Chinese.

A simple search for “internet” (for specific languages) gives the following results:

2,160,000,000      English pages for “internet”
61,300,000           French pages for “internet”
53,900,000           German pages for “internet”
36,500,000           Spanish pages for “internet”
14,400,000           Dutch pages for “internet”
11,700,000           Portuguese pages for “internet”

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