Research on languages on the Internet

Responsible KEG Investigator:


Project Collaborator(s):

  • LSS, Aston University
  • University of Limerick, Ireland
Type of Project: Funded Project

Funder: UNESCO

Date Commissioned: 02/2004
Date Completed: 08/2004

Project Summary
In response to one of UNESCO's objectives regarding Multilingualism for Cultural Diversity and Participation of All in Cyberspace:
f) Provide content that is relevant to the cultures and languages of individuals in the Information Society, through access to traditional and digital media services. (Paragraph 23.f, Chapter 8, WSIS Plan of Action)
this project aimed at addressing some of the linguistic, political and technological issues that hinders cultural diversity and multilingualism in the Internet.

Regarding the linguistic issues, this project sought ways to amass data on actual language practice on the Internet, in order that policy making in this area could be better informed. Regarding the political issue, this project monitored issues of ownership in Internet communication and the political debate over the assignation of domain names to states. On the technological front, we assessed technological constraints which hinder language diversity on the Internet and to explore means to alleviate these constraints so as to enable language diversity on the Internet.

From an end-user point of view, we investigated some issues surrounding the use of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) to overcome potential language barrier in accessing Internet resources. In light of some potential constraints in the use of IDNs, we experimented a new way to overcome the potential difficulty in accessing Internet resources without the use of Roman alphabet.