The fragmentation per language, new trends.


Did you notice how blogs are getting more and more away from the lingua franca (=English)? The recent top entries of a search engine like Technorati from different languages show trends we should be thrilled and worried about at the same time.

If you think, that the current top search entry on Technorati “transparency international” has to with an English topic you just need to take a look at the first entries to figure, it is not. They are German.

While the German blogosphere still is small in numbers compared to the population and how blogging has taken off in other European countries, the readership seems to have reached new heights.

First “Du bist Deutschland” (Link Textexplanation in English) now a blog controversy about the fight between a non profit organization and an ex employee. Most of you may not know about it, but this is hitting mainstream press in Germany at the moment.

And this brings a problem if you can’t read German. You will feel as I do feel when I encounter something Spanish, or Asian. You perhaps would like to understand, what is said in here, but you can’t and the electronic translation services still fail to give a decent translation.

This trend will only increase and I am interested to see, how many of the now famous services will be able to stay in the market if they don’t satisfy the needs of the ever growing, often non English markets. This also means a lot of new business opportunities!

On the other side: more content in a local language means less communication with the world, less impulses, less learning from another.

If the blogging readership in a country grows big enough to sustain their own blogging eco system in their own language there is less need to evolve, less resources to learn from etc.

People tend to go back to their native language, because it is so much easier. If you are a non native English speaker – do you see similar trends in your language sphere?

(And please add to your answer, if your television sends dubbed TV only. I have a theory there …)


3 Responses to “The fragmentation per language, new trends.”

  1. Rachel says:

    On the TV theory, I agree there. Having lived in Amsterdam (where English-speaking TV is subtitled) and spent a lot of time in Germany (where English-speaking TV is dubbed) the Dutch appear to be far more comfortable with English. But as I only have the onwe language, can’t comment on the blogging trends.

  2. Peterb says:

    Good point you got there. It’s really tough to decide what’s best, in terms of both readership and access. One the one hand, your potential readership (and impact) is significantly smaller in most languages other than English. (Although this is mostly academic anyway, as hardly any blog has that large a readership.) On the other hand, writing in your non-native language you block out a big part of your country’s population, at least people without the privilege of higher education. While in Sweden (and to some degree Germany) most people easily understand English blogs, in Italy or Spain this may be a big problem.

    Another problem is interacting with the blogosphere at large – if your fellow bloggers (i.e. your blog peer group) doesn’t speak your language, your blog is worthless to them. After all, that’s why English emerged as the Lingua Franca for scientific use: You just need one (non-native, if necessary) language to exchange information on a global scale. Maybe the blogosphere will eventually help to spread English even further, so even people who so far have lacked the chance to practice the language can get better access not only to weblogs, but also to other English content?

  3. Nicole says:

    Well, I am more likely to promote the useage of English than of Chinese, that is for sure. :)