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Multilingualism on the Internet - Thematic introduction

Author(s): Sue Wright

Journal: International Journal of Multicultural Societies
ISSN 1817-4574

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: multilingualism | linguistic diversity | information technology

The Internet may be a part of two very different social trends. On the one hand, the emergence of the inter-regional networks and systems of interaction and exchange of globalization has encouraged the spread of English. On the other hand, the ease and relatively cheap cost of using information technology allows any language group to produce its own sites, journals and programmes. There are thus two research questions to be addressed from a socio-linguistic perspective: is the Internet actually leading to greater contact across language boundaries and is it indeed English that is the preferred medium for such exchanges? And what could be the possible role of the Internet in the maintenance and revitalization of lesser used languages. The present issue, whose research was undertaken in the framework of UNESCO’s multidisciplinary project Initiative B@bel, reports on the first tranche of this research programme.
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