Internet Language Bubbles

If you search something like Languages on the internet graph/map you will see some interesting results on Google images. It actually makes one think about how dominant English has been on the internet and how it affects language diversity on the internet. Another thing to consider is how English has sort of engulfed smaller languages especially in Europe on the internet so it makes it difficult to find, for example communities or Swedish speaking people because they have converted to English. Also which countries/lanuguages have been untouched and will probably remain so? And which countries are endangered to be absorbed by the overbearing (american?) english presence.

A few ideas: Russian, Chinese languages, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, India, Pakistan - will stay independent.

French, Spanish: will probably stay unaffected

Italy, Poland - mixed, uncertain

German - In danger (?)

the german-speaking world is next to countries in Northern Europe that have been greatly influenced.

Is English a blessing as a tool for people to communicate or does it shut-down/ make irrelevant other languages online?

I’m not trying to debate with anyone or sound like a genius, I’d like to really know what others think.

I REALLY don’t think any country will change their official language to English, except maybe some African countries that are trying to transition from French to English. (Rwanda, for example) But those African countries are a special case since they have a bunch of local languages and then French as the official language spoken by a tiny influential minority.

However, the transition to teach English hasn’t been going well since the teachers themselves don’t speak very good English! So even in some French speaking African countries, I don’t think English will push out French.

I find it kind of funny when people say that Latin America will go to English, changing 200 years or so of them speaking Spanish natively. Not going to happen. More people may learn English to a high level, but I would be extremely surprised if countries with non-English languages as their official languages changed.

Swedish is very much alive, no worries about that!!!

Swedes are good at English as it happens :slight_smile:

German - Endangered?

Quatsch mit Sauce

In these days, German is becoming more and more popular for young people, as Germany is one of the rare countries in Europe where you’ll find a job.

Good education plus German language skills → Successful career.

So I don’t see German as an endangered language.


Hmm…well…I believe there are some people in Germany (albeit probably a minority) who would like to switch most of your education system over to English, no?

Having said that, I don’t think that even this would be the death knell for the German language. There was a time in history when education in German states was mostly done in Latin - but German managed to survive that attack!

Of course if we vote to leave the EU, you’ll all have to start learning French! :smiley: And it could really happen - opinion polls over the last decade consistently show a majority of people in the UK are in favour of leaving the EU. In recent years this majority has grown, and there is now mounting demand for a referendum…

(And, yes, I will vote to leave too! ;-D)

Despite all the hype about the dominance of English, I see no evidence that it is endangering other languages.If there is a high level of education in a society, the native language and foreign languages survive just fine. Furthermore previously suppressed languages are making a come back.

In Quebec, the separatist government goes about finding ways to legally restrict English claiming that it is a threat to French. In fact poor education levels are a greater threat. Swedes, on the whole speak better English than the Quebecois, and their language is not threatened. Well educationed bi-lingual Quebecois are not losing their language. High school drop outs in Quebec do poorly in any language.

the topic pertains to these languages used on the internet and internet culture where many of us do the majority of our communicating in 2013.

To suggest languages are literally endangered within borders where they are officially spoken is baloney with sauce, as Maria asserted (smart, nice lady btw :))) ).

I believe languages are affected on the internet, I could be looking in the wrong places but where are smaller languages like Swedish spreading influence and use on mass media/social gathering sites. Perhaps they convert to english, which my point was that this is an affected language by this definition, but I could be blind to this because I’m not inputting searches in Swedish on the internet.

German speakers have this large talking-point about this thing called Denglish, and how the youth typically will use english words for german ones mainly where fewer syllables are involved (perhaps for more concise, to the point speech) it’s not done tactfully many times. But it does seem signficantly less common to hear French, Spanish, Italian, Polish speakers inserting english into their speech.

@CTNBEH - “the topic pertains to these languages used on the internet and internet culture where many of us do the majority of our communicating in 2013.”

I was confused by the responses as well… lol

Certainly, as I’ve performed Google searches for certain ‘common’ phrases in German I’ve received far fewer results than I would expect with such a language. Even not so common expressions in Chinese yield far more results. Perhaps not the most even comparison, but that means there must be much less communication happening online in German than in some other languages.

Statistics about web pages in various languages. Russian is now the second most used language on the web . See espec. the “trend in the last few years” link.

Those statistics are kind of my point and not very pleasing. As a native English speaker looking to go the route of full immersion learning online, unfortunately you are never fully removed from being bombarded with English.

The concern is not if German will be used, it’s how it will be used. Will words that are more trendy, concise (that happen to be english) among later internet-hooked generations slowly replace their longer-syllabled, more effort to pronounce german versions.

I don’t know. The young man in the latest videos I’ve been watching doesn’t use the word Schlüssel, he uses key continuously. For what purpose, perhaps this generation is trying to prove their language skills and freedom, using english and german interchangeably as they please, but ultimately, this may not lead to a positive direction for the German language.

English is used more often by non-native speakers than any other language, on the Internet or in real life. This may change in time, but there is little anyone can do about it. It is quite convenient in fact. It is because it is convenient to use English that it is used so much. I don’t really see what there is to be concerned about.

The growth of English and influence of English on other languages is surely only a problem if you accept the corollary: English would be better off without foreign influence. I’m pretty happy to speak a language that has pinched words from other languages. I don’t mind if other languages pinch our words in exchange. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and all that…

My Russian friends often use English words and the joke is usually if I don’t know the word then just say the English word with a Russian accent and I’ll probably be ok. It seems to work out.

I’m more concerned when someone tells me they want to learn American English…

CTNBEH, I don’t know about German, but you can “immerse” yourself in Russian online very easily. It and German have about the same presence on the Internet, by percentage of web pages, So if you’re referred to a page in English, don’t go there, if it offends you! You won’t avoid an admixture of “cool” English, but it’s not difficult to recognize and avoid sites where such communication is prevalent. You certainly won’t be “bombarded” with English if you are careful. Just don’t read it.

You sound like the French Academy, or “slavophiles” in Russia–you want a “pure” language, untainted by English (or in the latter case, by any Western language). Yet, as Steve says, there is little anyone can do about the influence / ubiquity of English.

As an aside, years ago I worked w/ a man born and raised in Germany who said he would rather read German writers in English, as he preferred how the writers’ thoughts were expressed in English! This was not a young man; he was probably in his late 40s or early 50s at that time. And it was not mere politeness on his part. He just, plain enjoyed German authors in English. I was quite surprised. . . . I’ve run into, since, a native-born Russian–an academic!–who prefers reading Tolstoy in English, as he doesn’t like Tolsoy’s Russian.

Not that I agree with them or even have any basis for judgement, but it’s surprising to hear such thoughts from well-educated speakers of a foreign language.

@Wato: What’s wrong with the American accent? :slight_smile:

I read an article I am unable to retrieve that spoke about how there is an existence of a certain crowd of amateurs of translation, as well as a widespread appreciation for the art therein. It is a hobby of many, and has been for centuries, to translate Danté into English. I’d bet there are entire communities online that discuss nothing but the translation of a single work!

I don’t understand people who force native speakers they are speaking with to alter their accents. I like hearing a variety of dialects over Skype, and I also like meeting people from throughout the francosphere. Its not like I’m going to sound like a native anytime soon, let alone obtain the patois of any one region, so I’m quite happy speaking a very general French with a diverse range of people.

@Ernie, there is no accounting for tastes. Tolstoy is my favourite author in Russian. I enjoy reading his books just for the language. I find him much less interesting in English.

As for accents, I think we all have our preferences but in general I enjoy a variety in all languages.

As for the prevalence of English on the net, it is of course self-reinforcing. If one looks at the graph Ernie provided, it is obvious why people choose to search in English or to publish in English. Even as the influence of the US and Britain declines, the usefullness of English may remain. What could replace it?

@cazasigiloso There is nothing wrong with an American accent (usually :))but I would rather hear the native accent. I like the sound of English with a foreign accent, maybe I’m strange but I’d rather hear a Frenchman speak English with his own accent or a Russian woman speak with her own accent. It sounds better to my ear.

If I ever meet a foreigner in my travels who has cultivated an Australian accent I think I’ll cry…

Having said that I do know some TESOL schools only want British or North American native speakers as teachers.

@wato: I don’t know many people that have learned a language as an adult and have a native accent. I haven’t met any in my neck of the woods and they most definitely exist. I just doubt that it is common at all.

@wato - I prefer to hear and enjoy foreigners speaking English with a foreign accent too, funny enough - not exactly sure why. And in my mind a foreign accent doesn’t hinder speaking impeccable English.

Not sure what you meant when you said you’d be upset by a foreigner (overseas presumably) who has cultivated an Aussie accent? (of course we have bucket-loads of overseas-born people here who speak with a perfect aussie accent - and I love that, too).

@Steve: “…Even as the influence of the US and Britain declines, the usefullness of English may remain. What could replace it?..”

Even as the influence of Rome declines, the usefullness of Latin may remain. What could replace it? :smiley: