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English rules the internet – at what cost?

la-gente-de-negocios-del-equipo-con-el-mapa-del-mundo_53-7494Researchers have found that a lot of European languages are at risk of “disappearing” from the internet, as English slowly takes over as the language of choice.

Icelandic, Maltese, Lithuanian and Latvian have been identified as the languages most in danger, with 21 languages in total at risk of disappearing from the internet.

The study, which was carried out by University of Manchester’s National Centre for Text Mining, assessed language technology support within four categories for each language. The categories were automatic translation, speech interaction, text analysis and the availability of language resources. English was found to have the best language technology support for all categories.

Director of the National Centre for Text Mining, Professor Sophia Ananiadou, said

“Language technology already makes our lives easier and has huge potential to help us in many different ways. As digital information and communication is becoming increasingly dominant, it is vital that sophisticated language technology support is available for a wider range of languages, otherwise collaboration with our European neighbours will become more difficult.”