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Languages used on the Internet

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Title: Languages used on the Internet  
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Subject: Internet, Global Internet usage, Internet-related lists, Population statistics, Internet in Russian
Collection: Internet by Country, Internet Culture, Internet-Related Lists, Natural Language and Computing, Population Statistics
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Languages used on the Internet

The most used language on the Internet is unknown,[1] although about half of the homepages of the most visited sites on the Internet are in English, with varying amounts of information available in many other languages.[2][3]


  • Languages used 1
  • Content languages for websites 2
  • Internet users by language 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Languages used

There is debate over the most-used languages on the Internet. A 2009 UNESCO report monitored the languages of websites for 12 years from 1996 to 2008 found a steady year-on-year decline in the percentage of webpages in English from 75% in 1998 to 45% in 2005.[3] The authors found that English remained at 45% of content for 2005 to the end of the study, but believe this was due to the bias of search engines indexing more English-language content rather than a true stabilization of the percentage of content in English online.[3]

Ongoing monitoring by W3Techs showed that in March 2015, just over 55% of the most visited websites had English-language homepages.[2] Other top languages that are used at least in 2% of the one million most visited websites according to W3Techs are Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Portuguese.[2]

Note, however, that the figures from the W3Techs study are based on the one million most visited websites (i.e., approximately 0.27% of all websites according to December 2011 figures) as ranked by

  • Internet World Users by Language, Internet World Stats.
  • "Estimation of English and non-English Language Use on the WWW", Gregory Grefenstette and Julien Nioche, in Proceedings of RIAO'2000, Content-Based Multimedia Information Access, Paris, 12-14 April 2000, pp. 237-246.
  • World GDP by Language 1975–2002, Mark Davis, Unicode Technical Note #13 (2003).
  • "Writing the Web’s Future in Many Languages", Daniel Sorid, New York Times, 30 December 2008.
  • Statistical Survey Report on Internet Usage in China, China Internet Network Information Center (2009), English translation.
  • List of CNNIC statistical reports, China Internet Network Information Center (1997-2010).
  • Measuring Linguistic Diversity on the Internet, UNESCO (2006).
  • Twelve years of measuring linguistic diversity in the Internet, UNESCO (2009).
  • Language Observatory, Japan Science and Technology Agency (2012).
  • Observatory of linguistic and cultural diversity on the Internet, Networks and Development Foundation, FUNRDES (July 2012).

External links

  1. ^ a b NET.LANG: Towards a multilingual cyberspace Laurent VAnnini and Hervé le crosnier (eds.), Maaya Network, C&F éditions, March 2012, 446 pp., ISBN 978-2-915825-08-4
  2. ^ a b c d e "Usage of content languages for websites". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Pimienta, Daniel, Prado, Daniel and Blanco, Álvaro (2009). "Twelve years of measuring linguistic diversity in the Internet: balance and perspectives". United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 
  4. ^ "Technologies Overview". W3Techs. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Rotaru, Alexandru. "The foreign language Internet is good for business". Archived from the original on 2013-04-07. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Number of Internet Users by Language", Internet World Stats, Miniwatts Marketing Group, 31 May 2011, accessed 22 April 2012


See also

Rank Language Internet
1 English 800,625,314 28.6%
2 Chinese 649,375,491 23.2%
3 Spanish 222,406,379   7.9%
4 Arabic 135,610,819   4.8%
5 Portuguese 121,779,703   4.3%
6 Japanese 109,626,672   3.9%
7 Russian 100,700,000   3%
8 German 81,139,942   2.9%
9 French 78,891,813   2.8%
10 Malay 75,459,025   2%
11–36 Others 440,087,029   15.7%
Total 2.81 Billion 100%

Estimates of the number of Internet users by language as of December 31, 2013:[6]

Internet users by language

All other languages are used in less than 0.1% of websites. Even including all languages, percentages may not sum to 100% because some websites contain multiple content languages.

Rank Language Percentage
1 English 55.5%
2 Russian 5.9%
3 German 5.8%
4 Japanese 5.0%
5 Spanish 4.6%
6 French 4.0%
7 Chinese 2.8%
8 Portuguese 2.5%
9 Italian 1.9%
10 Polish 1.7%
11 Turkish 1.5%
12 Dutch 1.3%
13 Persian 0.9%
14 Arabic 0.8%
15 Korean 0.7%
16 Czech 0.7%
17 Swedish 0.5%
18 Vietnamese 0.4%
19 Indonesian 0.4%
20 Greek 0.4%
21 Romanian 0.4%
22 Hungarian 0.3%
23 Danish 0.3%
24 Thai 0.3%
25 Finnish 0.2%
26 Slovak 0.2%
27 Bulgarian 0.2%
28 Norwegian 0.2%
29 Hebrew 0.1%
30 Lithuanian 0.1%
31 Croatian 0.1%
32 Ukrainian 0.1%
33 Norwegian Bokmål 0.1%
34 Serbian 0.1%
35 Catalan 0.1%
36 Slovenian 0.1%
37 Latvian 0.1%
38 Estonian 0.1%
Content languages for websites as of 12 March 2014[2]

Estimated percentages of the top 10.1 million websites using various content languages as of 18 March 2015:[2]

Content languages for websites

The number of non-English pages is rapidly expanding. The use of English online increased by around 281% from 2001 to 2011, a lower rate of growth than that of Spanish (743%), Chinese (1,277%), Russian (1,826%) or Arabic (2,501%) over the same period.[5]

referenced earlier. [3] and the 2009 UNESCO report[1]Towards a multilingual cyberspace As a consequence, the figures show a significantly higher percentage for many languages (especially for English) as compared to the figures for all websites. The figures for all websites are unknown, but some sources estimate below 50% for English: see for instance, [4]

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