Studies have been conducted, with the support of the Internation Organisaton de la Francophonie (OIF), to analyze the presence of French in the Internet. Results have been presented in three editions of the book “Le français dans le monde” (in 2014, 2018 and 2022), edited each four years by OIF. Currently, French shares the 4th position in terms of Web contents, behind English, Chinese and Spanish, together with Arabic, Hindi, Russian and Portuguese with long term promises for strengthening, insofar as the digital divide is overcome in Africa. French is a strong second in the cyber-globalization Index, behind English.
This ambitious project coordinated by UNESCO Chair on Language Policies for Multilingualism and supported by Brazilian Foreign Ministry in the frame of Instituto Internacional da Língua Portuguesa have several components:
- The study of the presence of Portuguese in the Internet (PPI)
- The seminar on the presence of Portuguese on the Internet and its implications for Internet governance (SEPREPI)
- An online course of Portuguese speaking countries on the importance of multilingualism in the Internet (GELPI)
- A book on the importance of multilingualism in the Internet (GEOPPI)
Studies have been conducted, with the support of the General delegation for the French language and the languages of France, to analyze the presence of languages of France in the Internet. A data base have been organized to allow access to the data collected.
No specific project has been conducted on the presence of Spanish on the Internet; however methodologies used for French has been sometimes applied to Spanish and the results reported in articles.
As part of a permanent technological watch on the subject, some experiments has been conducted and documented on the challenges and opportunities of Artificial Intelligence for multilingualism.
An effort was conducted between 2010 and 2014 to launch a large European project under the Research Framework Program to address the questions of language diversity on the Internet.
The history of networks, from computer manufacturer networks (such as IBM’s VNET), military networks (such as Arpanet), research networks (such as BITNET), libertarian networks (such as USENET) up to the merger into the Internet is a young story that began in the late 60s and culminated in the Internet and the Web after 1992.
The prehistory of our association is the period between 1988 (the birth of FUNREDES) and 2009, which was rich in innovative experimentations.
The Observatory, during its period as a project of the NGO FUNREDES, was a pioneer in the field of linguistic diversity on the Internet in several respects.
Indicators for the Presence of Languages in the Internet
In 2017, we devised a new approach that could help to better follow the progress and prevalence of languages online. Using this approach, we were able to identify meaningful indicators outlining the presence of 343 languages on the Internet.