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UNESCO Publishes Series of Articles on Multilingualism on the Internet

Multilingualism on the Internet” is the title of the latest issue of UNESCO’s International Journal on Multicultural Societies that was commissioned by UNESCO's Initiative B@bel. Edited by Sue Wright, the issue contains articles by Mathias König, David Block, Helen Kelly Holmes, Safari Mafu, Richard Peel, Helen Gerrard and Sachiko Nakamura.

The Internet is a prime example of how ICT affects patterns of language use. These changes can have a number of far-ranging social, economic and other effects so public language policies may provide useful responses to these new challenges and opportunities.

On the one hand, the Internet seems to reinforce global trends of linguistic standardization. On the other hand, it may also support the maintenance of local minority languages particularly in situations, where access to national spheres of communication is restricted and conventional resources for storing multilingual information are scarce. Little empirical data on these phenomena which would allow one to assess the multifaceted effects of ICT on the globalisation and/or localisation of languages is however currently available.

The issue “Multilingualism on the Internet” that is online available aims at contributing to original socio-linguistic research about the linguistic impacts of the Internet and at filling this knowledge gap.

The research, carried out under the coordination of Sue Wright (Aston University, UK), attempts to break new ground by collecting and analyzing empirical data on patterns of language use on the Internet in the African, Arab, Asian and European region.

  • 23-11-2004