2016-01-15

Why English Dominates the Web: Native & Non-native English Speakers

Almost 55 percent of the top 10 million websites on the web are in English (chart below). The English language clearly dominates the internet. Globally, although Chinese has the most first language speakers, only 2.2% of the top 10 million websites in the world are in Chinese. Why? 
(1) There are more English speakers in the world than Chinese (see text further below);
(2) China lags behind most of the developed world in (a) internet freedom, and (b) GNI per capita--see text further below chart: 

Infographic: Languages Most Used On the Web vs. IRL | Statista
Source: Statista.

1. Note the chart above gives only first-language speaker totals, which is misleading--see Domain MondoCountries With Best Non-native English Speakers: "Linguist David Crystal estimates that non-native English speakers now outnumber native [first language] speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1 in the world"--applying Crystal's ratio to the data above, first (native) and second (non-native) language English speakers together total 1.44 billion people, which exceeds all Chinese (first and second language) speakers globally according to the data available.

2. See on Domain Mondo: Domain Name Registrations and the Global Internet Population: "There is a significant positive correlation between a nation’s rank in Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, and the number of domain names per Internet user. A nation’s ranked position by GNI per capita explains about 50% of the variance in its ranking by number of domain names per Internet user. Another correlating factor is the absence or prevalence of internet censorship or internet freedom in each nation" (emphasis added).  In both internet freedom and GNI per capita, China lags behind most of the developed world.

With India (where English is an official language) having the most people who read or speak English (native and non-native) of any nation in the world, and China having the largest number of students studying English as a second language in the world, expect the continuing pre-eminence of English globally, and on the internet, well into the 21st Century.

See also: Countries With Best Non-native English Speakers



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