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A study by Daniel Pimienta, Networks and Development Foundation (FUNREDES)
Acknowledgments to John Quatermann, from Matrix News, for his translation from French to English. The study was first published in English in June 1996 an it is still available at this URL: http://www3.mids.org/mn/703/french3.html

Version of March 1997: A year later, what are the trends?

The resampling of the linguistic keywords permits judging trends regarding the place of French (and Spanish) in the Internet.
NOTE: Interested parties may ask me for the table from which I have taken the following conclusions.

Keywords English French Spanish E/F F/S Change in E/F (96-97)
Total/Mean March 97 80479459 4025121 2097220 19.99 1.92 -1.92
Total/Mean March 96 45924285 2095899 872867 21.91 2.40 2by2transparent.gif (43 bytes)
Annual Increase 75% 92% 140% 2by2transparent.gif (43 bytes) 2by2transparent.gif (43 bytes) 2by2transparent.gif (43 bytes)

Analysis of the Results

The number of citations of selected English terms increased by 75% while the same number of French terms increased by 95%, or 17% more. The ratio between English and French changed from 21.99 to 19.99, which is close to 2% less.

The result for the Spanish language is even better, with an increase of close to two times that of the English language, and, in consequence, a ratio of French to Spanish that decreased from 2.4 to 1.92.

We were already convinced by the study of March 1996 that the trend would be towards reduction in the disparity between English and the other languages.

The result for French is still a bit puzzling: is it because of reticence in France for the exclusion of the Internet or because of a resistance by the French videotex system?

The Spanish result is spectacular: the English/Spanish ratio changed from 52.6 to 38.7, which is a reduction of nearly 30%! Is this a consequence of the strong "movida'' of Spain towards the Internet, or is it the palpable progress of many Latin American countries? Probably both.

If we accept the hypothesis of the increase of the presence of the non-English languages in the Internet as a general fact, we must consider that the window of dominance of English that we estimated in the previous version of the study (from 60 to 80%) must be revised by 5 to 10%.

Does the linguistic progress of Spanish provoke an improvement in the performance of hispanic cultural symbols? From tests using the cultural tables from the study of March 1996, the changes in this area are minor. That's not surprising, because the the presence of "culture'' is as much the result of the renown of cultural items in other cultures and languages as it is of citations by nationals of the culture.

 

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Copyright 1996-1999 FUNREDES
Created: 24 VIII 1998
Last Modified: 02 VII 1999

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