After decades of English being the internet’s number one language, Chinese is set to take over.
Although the web was founded using English, the swelling adoption of the world wide wibble is changing the web so much that the dominant language of the internet is about to become Chinese, a report by Nextweb has suggested.
Currently the online population is about 1,966,514,816 people and of them 42 percent speak English. Another 32.6 per cent speak Chinese. Nextweb thinks that the extent that the Chinese market is growing means that the number of Chinese users will overtake English speakers.
It seems that the Chinese are trying to capitalise on this. Recently Chinese mandarins issued a decree requiring Chinese translations for all English words and phrases in newspapers, magazines and web sites.
The General Administration of Press and Publication website announced last week that the mixing of foreign words in Chinese language publications without an accompanying Chinese language translation has been banned.
The ban is all encompassing and includes the names of people and places, acronyms, abbreviations and common phrases, all of which have become increasingly common over recent years.
The idea is to maintain cultural purity of the Chinese Language but it does create another communication wall between China and the rest of the world. Chinese is not exactly an easy language to learn. However it means that a huge chunk of the world wide wibble will not be accessible to those who cannot read it. There’s always Google Translate.
While it is unlikely that your average American will know where Beijing is, let alone want to visit a site there, businesses have been doing a lot more searching in China lately.
It could be soon that Chinese could be the lingua franca of business in the latter part of the 21st century.