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Measuring linguistic diversity on Internet

UNESCO has been providing substantial support to several initiatives and projects to measure linguistic diversity in Internet for almost a decade. UNESCO believes that there is a strong correlation between languages on Internet and the diversity of languages within a country, and for this reason, states have an important role to play in adopting appropriate language policies for the Internet, based on reliable data.

Old activities:



Daniel Pimienta, Daniel Prado and Álvaro Blanco (2009): "Twelve years of measuring linguistic diversity in the Internet: balance and perspectives"


Workshop on Experiences on Measuring Languages in Cyberspace
22 February 2007, UNESCO Headquarters

This workshop was organized by the Language Observatory Project (LOP), the World Network for Linguistic Diversity (WDLD) and UNESCO, under the sponsorship of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and within the framework of the International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated every year on 21 February.

The event offered the following opportunities:

  • to establish a comparative discussion on the different methodologies for measuring the presence and the absence of languages in the digital world;
  • to share the experience and findings of the web language surveys on Asia and Africa;
  • to draw implications from the above experience and discuss about a possible roadmap to promote multilingualism and equal access in the cyberspace;
  • to demonstrate the usefulness and workability of the multi-stakeholder network.

The results of the workshop were disseminated in all countries, through the World Language Diversity Network, UNESCO Units (Field Offices and Headquarters), Language Observatory Project's member universities and through other partners.


Measuring linguistic diversity on the Internet
A publication by John Paolillo, Daniel Pimienta and Daniel Prado (2005).


UNESCO has been working with the Language Observatory Project (LOP), and the World Network for Linguistic Diversity since 2002 to develop scientific methodologies to measure the presence of languages in cyberspace, and to raise awareness to this very relevant component of cultural and linguistic diversity.

Amongst its major activities, the Language Observatory Project (LOP) developed the Cyber Census Survey. Both LOP and the census were implemented in partnership with several institutions in different countries and regions, namely:

  • Nagaoka University of Technology (NUT)
  • Keio University, Japan
  • Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), Japan
  • Faculti Sains Komputer & Sistem Maklumat (FSKSM), University Teknology Malaysia (UTM)
  • Thai Computational Linguistic Laboratory (TCL), Thailand
  • Miskolc University, Hungary
  • Technology Development of Indian Languages (TDIL), Ministry of IT, India
  • The Laboratory for Web Algorithmics (LAW), Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Informazione, Università degli Studi di Milano (USM), Milano, Italy.
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