Language News: Hexidecimally Lingual: Websites Must Speak 16 Languages to Go Global | Fast Company

All the possible polygons!

Image by aldoaldoz via Flickr

Fast Company, a magazine that covers new trends in business, covers research by Common Sense Advisory (CSA).

CSA’s research suggests that the overwhelmingly monolingual nature of the American education system is putting us at a severe disadvantage in the new global economy.  As they explain:

The fact that 16 languages is recommended to have the most influential global web presence will come as quite a shock for many global brands who just tackle the top few of the world’s most spoken languages (in order of number of speakers it goes Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindi-Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, and Russian) and rely on English being the lingua franca of the Web; the figure will keep growing, too, as Internet penetration reaches more countries around the world. CSA’s math suggests that sites that use 11 languages can only reach 80% of the world, and monolingual sites typically capture just 25% of the world’s Net users.

This out to be a wake-up call to many who would otherwise think that English’s lingua franca status is either (1) truly global or (2) permanent.  If we’re going to keep up, we’re going to have to reconsider our position on foreign languages.

Hexidecimally Lingual: Websites Must Speak 16 Languages to Go Global | Fast Company.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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