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Chinese Written Language To Dominate Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the keep-'em-dominated dept.

The Internet 535

Zothecula writes "In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English. Times change though, and the United States military's gift to civilization knows no national boundaries, and growing worldwide adoption of the internet has changed the audience make-up to such an extent that the dominant language of the internet is about to become Chinese. That's not to say the Chinese are all that comfortable with this either. There has just been an official decree requiring the use of Chinese translations for all English words and phrases in newspapers, magazines and web sites. While all countries have watched the unregulated global nature of the internet erode traditional cultural values and the integrity of national languages, it seems the Chinese powers-that-be have concluded that the purity of the Chinese language needs to be preserved."

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not just language (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689578)

but porn too. Seems like porn is now dominated by chinks and their hairy bushes.

Re:not just language (2)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689704)

but porn too. Seems like porn is now dominated by chinks and their hairy bushes.

Citation needed.

Re:not just language (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689800)

TTIUWOP

Oh, wait, this isn't Fark...

Re:not just language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689874)

Yes. Pics or it didn't happen.

Oh baby (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689584)

Fr1st ps0t!

This is it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689594)

This is the year of the Chinese language!

Re:This is it! (2)

galaad2 (847861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689846)

original article in chinese:

http://www.gapp.gov.cn/cms/html/21/508/201012/708310.html [gapp.gov.cn]

gizmag quote from TFA: The General Administration of Press and Publication web site announced last week that the mixing of foreign words in Chinese language publications without an accompanying Chinese language translation has been banned. The ban is all encompassing and includes the names of people and places, acronyms, abbreviations and common phrases, all of which have become increasingly common over recent years. /endquote

by now, i have been waiting for 10 minutes for that chinese page to load and it still hasn't finished loading the title of the page. If they expect to become the dominant language on the internet they better stop that damn Great Firewall and get some wide internet tubes over there.

Re:This is it! (1)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689988)

Uh, Chinese language websites have been there for decades and there are billions of them. The same goes for russian language sites and all the other languages with non-ascii characters. It's just that you aren't finding them because they're not in English.

Re:This is it! (2)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690256)

A decade ago when I was looking for documentation for ruby I found lots of sites in Japanese.

Fortunately the code snippets were clear enough that it I survived not being able to read the commentary around the code.

In my little corner of the world, I only find Chinese language content when I go out of my way looking for it. With some regularity I run into Dutch, German, Japanese, and Russian sites when looking for various information.

I suspect that there is more to my not running into Chinese websites than just because they are not in English. Then again, my internet usage may be a sufficiently unusual pattern to be meaningless in the big picture.

Quantity, not quality. (4, Insightful)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689596)

There might be more data in Chinese, but English will still be the standard of international communication.

Re:Quantity, not quality. (2)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690138)

Also, one main thing the graph doesn't tell is: - how many of the Chinese users read/write English? - how many of the English users read/write Chinese?

Re:Quantity, not quality. (1)

wan9xu (1829310) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690272)

actually, lots of the chinese 'net data are duplicates of each other. in part, it's a crowd sourced redundancy strategy (duplicate info on multiple servers) to get around the censorship.

Fuck communism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689606)

And chairman Mao was a cunt.
Dealing with China is just about the worst thing the US can do.

b prpard 4 crap like dis! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689612)

Be prepared for the lulz, only now it'll be mangling kanji instead of English.

It almost makes me wish I knew Chinese, just to watch it happen.

Sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689616)

And so we're once more divided. What's the value of an international network when every country insists on their own language?

Re:Sad (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689666)

And so we're once more divided. What's the value of an international network when every country insists on their own language?

Well, the scientists refused to use COBOL because its a wee bit lacking in the numerical analysis area, and the bean counters refused to use FORTRAN because they don't like expressing bean counts using floating point... Its not exactly a new problem.

Re:Sad (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690270)

Why would you use floats for counting beans?

Money can be stored as intCents, then displayed with a dot preceding the last two values if your users want to see dollars. There are probably even better ways, but that is what I came up with in the time it took to read your last sentence.

All I can say is: (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689630)

I doubt it.

I would RTFA but the summary makes it sounds like just another fluff opinion piece written by a journalist that doesn't know what he/she is writing about.

Re:All I can say is: (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689804)

Yes, the article does have facts and figures supporting the claim.

Somebody got a little too creative with the infographics [gizmag.com] though. Call me old-fashioned, but I like simple graphs I already know how to read.

Re:All I can say is: NOT (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690050)

I was trying to think of an amusing joke, which would no doubt be modded down by all the AC's swarming and insulting the Chinese.

Suffice to say that the fact that Chinese will be the most prevalent language used for chatter between grandma and the kids, does not make it the "dominant" language of the internet(s).

As for a fluff journalist summary on /., which means next to nothing or is downright deceptive-- welcome to /. This is not exactly new, is it? I beginning to think this is why some countries have a problem with people shooting journalists!

~

Yeah, right (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689636)

Somehow I don't think that a language made up of something like 50,000 ideograms is going to overtake a more reasonable language made out of 26 letters and some punctuation.

reasonable? (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690022)

Reasonable fluency takes only a couple thousand graphs; the 50,000 you quote includes huge numbers of obsolete, historical and technical graphs, and virtually no one outside of a language scholar has that kind of vocabulary.

And while you might find that the 26 letters you are familiar with create a simple context to build words with, I assure you that the few strokes the Chinese have to learn also create a simple context - very often, a graph is a word. As a native English speaker, I found it quite easy to learn to associate Chinese graphs with their meaning -- it's not nearly as difficult as it looks. It's considerably more difficult to learn to speak the language(s), but reading isn't too bad at all.

It is also only fair to point out that English is riddled with exceptions and weird little rules that make it quite difficult to master (and as evidence, I point to the constant stream of errors here on slashdot, where, supposedly anyway, the membership is well educated.

The big advantage for English (or other easily written languages Korean hangul) is the speed with which it can be typed into a digital context; but with stroke-aware input systems coming online, that advantage isn't likely to last a lot longer.

Chinese or French (1, Informative)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689638)

Keep in mind that the French are equally vehement about the purity of their language. This could be the next great war :|

Re:Chinese or French (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689676)

God how I wish this was so.

Send the bloody Quebecor's to ACTUALLY fight for something rather than just complain to goverment all the time to get their way.

Yo Grark

Re:Chinese or French (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689774)

Beyond that I'm not sure why it would be Chinese. China has a huge number of people, but they don't really speak the same language, the words are written more or less the same way, but good luck using the same dialect all over China. Same reason why India won't use any of their languages as the default.

I fully expect them to fail as between India and the US you've got nearly a full quarter of the world's populatation there alone, and we both use English as our language for government and such.

French or Spanish could do that, but it's a pretty long shot that any of those could over take English for such matters. Considering how English is more or less the official language of quite a few things these days, whether or not that was a wise decision in the first place.

Re:Chinese or French (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690084)

Keep in mind that the French are equally vehement about the purity of their language. This could be the next great war :|

Fortunately, we already know [youtube.com] who's going to win that one:

Whats the problem? (3, Interesting)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689640)

In ten years time we will have perfected translation software to instantly translate the major languages on the fly with almost perfect accuracy.

I work in the middle east and EVERYTHING written has to be translated into Arabic and English. What this means at the moment is that good translators are in high demand (of which there are not nearly enough).

Re:Whats the problem? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689824)

In ten years time we will have perfected translation software to instantly translate the major languages on the fly with almost perfect accuracy.

I remember people saying that in ten years time we would have perfected translation software.... in the 80s.

Re:Whats the problem? (2)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690002)

Well, we have perfected transliteration software, but good translation remains the domain of skilled specialists, and will likely remain so for several decades.

Re:Whats the problem? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689844)

In ten years time we will have perfected translation software to instantly translate the major languages on the fly with almost perfect accuracy.

Perhaps. But it's gonna be an interesting decade [google.com] .

Re:Whats the problem? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690100)

Good (not perfect) translation may be eventually reached, but it will certainly not be perfected in ten years. People make the mistake of assuming that language can be boiled down to a collection of algorithms. This is far from the case.

Stop putting pee pee in my coke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689644)

me no rikey

Re:Stop putting pee pee in my coke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689962)

Stop snorting the yellow snow.

Esperanto (5, Interesting)

genjix (959457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689646)

This language took me just 2 weeks to learn. It is fully expressive and totally logical- in my eyes as a programmer & mathematician it is beautiful. You can express things not possible in English even.

English speakers often forget there's this whole other world out there. Imagine how unproductive it is that many nations are all working in parallel.

Any questions? Go to lernu.net forums or #esperanto on freenode.

Esperanto is EXTREMELY easy to learn. Apart from not having any exceptions which hinder language learning, it uses a system of prefixes and suffixes. This way you can start with a very small vocabulary base and build words. Often I just invent new words on the fly to express a feeling or concept which might not have an English equivalent.

After 2 weeks of obsessive dedicated study I could speak it. A few months of occasional chatting and I use it naturally without effort in an expressive way.

Example:

    sana = health
    sanulo (san + ulo) = healthy person
    sanulejo (san + ul + ejo) = place for healthy people
    malsanulejo (mal + san + ul + ejo) = hospital (place for unhealthy people)

The vision of Esperanto is commonly misconstrued as the whole world speaking one language. This is not the goal at all. Esperanto is an AUXILLARY language- a language in addition to your native language just for the purpose of inter- communication with other cultures.

Esperanto is often labelled as 'artificial', but it is anything but. The language evolves according to usage by people. Only the core grammar/10 rules remain fixed.

Science papers, nobel nominated works of poetry and other works have all tested and used extensively the language demonstrating that it works. A century of usage has molded it.

If you believe in preserving local languages, then the obstacle is the difficulty in learning current (transient) international languages which are hard and discriminatory (Esperanto is neutral to all countries and belongs to nobody). Encouraging it's use would help promote local languages, instead of conglomerating together with huge behemoth steamroller languages.

I encourage you to approach the topic with an open mind and do some research first. Most people just like to immediately react emotionally and label it with preconceptions. Yet it's the saddest thing we're in a language extinction epoch. Here's a tool that can help us.

"""Four primary schools in Britain, with some 230 pupils, are currently following a course in "propedeutic Esperanto"—that is, instruction in Esperanto to raise language awareness and accelerate subsequent learning of foreign languages—under the supervision of the University of Manchester.[34] Studies have been conducted in New Zealand,[35] United States,[36][37][38]Germany,[39] Italy[40] and Australia.[41] The results of these studies were favorable and demonstrated that studying Esperanto before another foreign language expedites the acquisition of the other, natural, language. This appears to be because learning subsequent foreign languages is easier than learning one's first, while the use of a grammatically simple and culturally flexible auxiliary language like Esperanto lessens the first-language learning hurdle. In one study,[42] a group of European secondary school students studied Esperanto for one year, then French for three years, and ended up with a significantly better command of French than a control group, who studied French for all four years. Similar results have been found for other combinations of native and second languages, as well as for arrangements in which the course of study was reduced to two years, of which six months is spent learning Esperanto."""

Not only is Esperanto good for the 'humanrace', it's very beneficial and practical to a fully selfish person.

By learning the language you help rewire your brain in such a way as to accelerate subsequent language learning. And it is faster to learn Esperanto followed by your choice language, than just dedicatedly learning your choice language. Fact.

Re:Esperanto (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689690)

I prefer this language myself -

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Lojban [wikimedia.org]

Greatly appeals to my nerdy side.

Re:Esperanto (1)

genjix (959457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690128)

Except 2 million people speak Esperanto NOW. Hardly no-one speaks Lojban. Esperanto has proven itself already and is 'good enough'

Re:Esperanto (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690148)

I prefer this language myself -

Yes, that's useful - let's have a war over which constructed language to use for universal communication.

I wonder if the same fate that is befalling Blu-Ray will happen here - the war between HD-DVD and BluRay took so long to sort out that downloads will wind up winning.

So English will wind up winning in the end, I expect. Sadly.

I think we should all learn a pidgin combination of English, Chinese and Russian, like Mannie speaks in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

"What hoohoo, cobber?"

Re:Esperanto (1)

Aleksej (1110877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690226)

Except that, whenever I come to #lojban on IRC (I probably did that between 5 and 10 times though), I see only a short discussion in English, usually about translation of some phrase into Lojban.

Re:Esperanto (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689798)

Why I am I seeing in my mind the image of Arnold J. Rimmer (H)??? Is 2011 the year of the Esperanto desktop? Nope. I suspect Star Trek has it correct that the Earth will be speaking english in the future with various local languages preserved for cultural reasons.

As for illogical language rules, they could easily be removed from the language such as saying "swim" "swimmed" "have swimmed" instead of the archaic swim, swam, swum. Just the same way Americans replaced "metre" and "civilised" with the more proper, logical "meter" and "civilized" spelling to match how we speak. (ducks British spitball)

Re:Esperanto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34689934)

As for illogical language rules, they could easily be removed from the language such as saying "swim" "swimmed" "have swimmed" instead of the archaic swim, swam, swum. Just the same way Americans replaced "metre" and "civilised" with the more proper, logical "meter" and "civilized" spelling to match how we speak. (ducks British spitball)

We also replaced "judgement" with "judgment". In all seriousness though, the point of the GP was that we could adopt international language *without* dumbing down local languages. Making English or any current local language the de-facto international language does not achieve that.

Re:Esperanto (1)

Aleksej (1110877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690064)

Don't forget to fix the rest of the [johnbakersblog.co.uk] chaos [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Esperanto (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690190)

(ducks British spitball)

I don't see how British ducks throwing spitballs have anything to do with this conversation. Perhaps if you tried explaining this in Lojban?

Re:Esperanto (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689856)

The story's about the possible rise of the Chinese language in a place currently dominated by English, so you suggest everybody learn Esperanto? You're like that guy who tells the PC or Mac guys to switch to Amiga... or worse, that guy that chimes in on an iOS thread and says 'Nokia N900!'

Normally I wouldn't mind, but you've written a frickin novel, here.

Re:Esperanto (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689936)

Here [wetpaint.com] . A much shorter and more useful table.

Re:Esperanto (1)

Koftu (1015187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689864)

You can express things not possible in English even.

Example please.

Re:Esperanto (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689928)

You can express things not possible in English even.

Example please.

Oh the beauty of an argument like that... "You have to learn Esperanto to understand the example!"

Re:Esperanto (1)

genjix (959457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690090)

Off the top of my head you could say ruecii which means something like 'becoming the quality of redness' or katestrigi which is 'causing someone to become a master of cats' or liberece means 'doing something in a freedom loving spirit'... Just random ideas that've popped into my head- things like this are common to use.

Re:Esperanto (1)

genjix (959457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690116)

damn, slashdot is cut out the unicode letters.

ruecii = rugxecigxi (x represents a ^ on the letters)

Re:Esperanto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34690234)

I hope that what was meant was actually "You can even express more succinctly things very verbosely expressed in English."

Re:Esperanto (1)

HappyEngineer (888000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690206)

I've always wondered about how language shapes thought. I've never learned another speaking language, but I do know that this concept is absolutely true in programming languages. Some programming languages allow you to express things far easier than others. Reading a few lines of code in one language can be equivalent to a page of code in another. Other times the amount of code is the similar, but the code in one language is far easier to understand.

Yet, learning a programming language doesn't take much time compared to the huge investment in time required to learn a speaking language. (unless the GP is correct that it only takes 2 weeks to learn Esperanto).

How does this work in speaking languages? In some languages is it possible to express things with fewer words or with a grammar that makes things easier to understand? Do some languages have ways to be clever or poetic that do not exist in others?

Uh... (1, Informative)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689658)

""In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English.

Times change though, and the United States' military's gift to civilization"

The WWW was not US's military gift to civilisation. The internet =/= WWW. The author appears to use them interchangeably..

Re:Uh... (2)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689766)

""In the beginning, the language of the World Wide Web was English.

Times change though, and the United States' military's gift to civilization"

The WWW was not US's military gift to civilisation. The internet =/= WWW. The author appears to use them interchangeably..

Yes, that's true. The internet >> WWW.

And, on behalf of the US military, you're welcome.

Re:Uh... (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689946)

Yes, that's true. The internet >> WWW.

Sorry, but appending The Internet onto the World Wide Web requires root privileges.

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34690136)

If slashdot supported unicode, I'm sure the GP would have used the "much greater than" symbol...

Re:Uh... (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690040)

You see on one hand I'm eternally grateful for the introduction of the internet. Darpa did a slap up job in getting things started and then along with the Euro academics making it a _real_ global network.

On the other hand, America destroyed newsnet by unleashing AOL which has basically evolved into 4chan and more recently anonymous.

Tricky to say if it's a net gain or loss, to be honest.

You're welcome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34690058)

Let's call a spade a spade here: the internet as we know it would have appeared with or without ARPANET pioneering the technology. Of course, the internet as we know it is much more than ARPANET -- much more than even they could have dreamed of at the time. To imply that the internet as we know it owes its entire existence to a single military project under the control of a single government entity is -- how can I put this nicely -- absurd. What we have today wouldn't have been remotely possible without a world-wide collaboration of thousands of individuals and organizations.

Moreover, just who do you think funded the ARPANET in the first place? You act as if it's some sort of gift from god, as if they did it out of good will. In reality, the money was taken from us, by force, and used for the benefit of the US government -- NOT necessarily for the benefit of the people who paid for it. (You'd have to ask them, wouldn't you?) In conclusion, get real.

Re:Uh... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689896)

Where does that leave the interweb? That's how I get on the blagosphere.

Re:Uh... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690214)

The internet was started in spite of the military, not because of it. The myth that the internet was the result of research initiated by request of the Pentagon is getting old. The military jumped in only after it was shown that computer networks were possible. Arpanet was the result of military funding, yes. But inter-connected data networks were the result of model train geeks at MIT [mit.edu] . Read Steven Levy's Hackers [amazon.com] .

Re:Uh... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690266)

hell even the claims that the internet was the US's military gift to civilisation is a load of nationalistic tripe.

Arpanet was not the first packet switching network, it was not the first internet because you need to have multiple networks connected before you have an internet and there were multiple networks in multiple countries being run as part of research funded my multiple governments which contributed to the early internet.

Funding from the US government helped some of the early development of the net and packet switching but it wasn't the only source of funding or researchers.

Sorry for the rant but I run into far too many idiots who believe the internet belongs to america/was created solely by america or americans or that in various other ways the internet is americas to do with as it wishes.

Big in numbers - limited in geography (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689664)

Chinese may be the biggest language, but it doesn't span the world like English does. If you write in english almost everyone will understand you, regardless if they are in northern Canada or the southern tip of South America. In the brushlands of Africa or standing in frozen Siberia. In Europe or far-off India, Australia, or Japan. English is a near-universal tongue thanks to the spread by the British Empire and later cultural dominance of the US Free Market.

In contrast chinese is pretty much confined to just China. Few people outside that country understand chinese websites.

Only one problem (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689750)

The internet does not recognize geographic borders. If China ends up having the most internet users and they remain part of the main internet (if they don't go and create internet 2) then we will need a new open standard to create webpages than can traverse different languages with ease. I certainly don't have the time to learn Chinese ;)

Re:Big in numbers - limited in geography (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689754)

Moreover, are we talking about the free Internet, or the part behind the Great Firewall?

Re:Big in numbers - limited in geography (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689840)

Chinese isn't that big in terms of numbers. English is the unofficially official language of the US as well as the language you have to use in India for government matters.

Worse for Chinese, while the written language doesn't vary too much, the differences between the dialects make them essentially different languages when spoken. Some have 8 tones and others have 6 and it's not standardized even across China.

Re:Big in numbers - limited in geography (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689890)

Chinese (pinyin) is easier to learn and understand than English. I'd be surprised if the next 20 years didn't see a move towards the international language being Chinese (pinyin). The only issue with it is that pinyin is ambiguous (homonyms are numerous) and that the language itself is simple enough to cause confusion. It's entirely free of conjugation, and the grammar is much more open.

Of course, spoken language and hanzi are harder than English, but if people learn it for written communication only, pinyin would be easy, and natively understood by what will quickly be the largest economy on the planet (by far).

In other words (1)

Semptimilius (917640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689742)

There are more and more Chinese speakers in China coming online. Shocking. I think we should all fall in a bout of hysteria. Soon all my favourite websites will be all in Chinese, and I won't be able to read them.

Another ill-informed speculatative conclusion (1)

webbiedave (1631473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689744)

The data released refers to the number of people gaining internet access by country. It has nothing to do with the languages of the content they are viewing or writing online.

Re:Another ill-informed speculatative conclusion (1)

webbiedave (1631473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689762)

Yes, I meant speculative.

Re:Another ill-informed speculatative conclusion (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690082)

Considering that the PRC is working hard to make sure that the Chinese Internet is cordoned off from the rest of the Internet, I believe that this article makes some bad assumptions. The last time I was > availability of non-Chinese websites was very hit or miss. For example, I could not access CNN, BBC, Google News, or the Chicago Tribune. I could access the Chicago Sun Times, AP, and Altavista News.

With the poor results I was getting from Google, I actually ended up using Altavista for the first time in a decade.

Nope (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689746)

English has become the language of global business. and by has become, I mean ever since the East India Trading Company came to power.

Typing speed? (2)

adenied (120700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689748)

I'm only fluent in English and can get by in Spanish. Both are relatively easy from a typing perspective. How fast can one type a similar paragraph in a language that uses the Latin alphabet vs. Chinese? It can't be too daunting giving the large amount of Chinese that's out there but if one was fluent in both and context didn't matter, would they tend towards Chinese or English based on speed alone?

Re:Typing speed? (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689880)

I don't think the difference is as great as you'd think. Most Chinese typists I know use some sort of input means that allows them to type the pinyin (like typing English) and then select a character corresponding to the pinyin from a list (done with a number at the end, so the hand never leaves the keyboard). It's actually not too bad, especially for a seasoned typist who knows exactly what they are typing and what the list will turn out to be for the characters. In addition, every Chinese input software I've ever seen also autocorrects the wording and grammar, making the whole thing even faster.

Younger Chinese folks, like my cousins, are especially adept at this. My cousins are wickedly fast on inputting Chinese with their phones.

Re:Typing speed? (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689908)

Copy --> Paste --> click Translate. That fast.

Re:Typing speed? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689960)

Except there's 3 variations of chinese that are 'modern' and are used in typing. Which means that unless you know the particular usage(and it varies by region), and can pick out the pictographs that are different. You might have a problem understanding simplified, std. chinese, std. hang, or japanese.

Most translation software that's good does std. chinese, and simple. But can't tell the difference between either, or that you've just pasted in a sentence in japanese. At least korean is easy to figure out.

Not necessarily popular with the Chinese, either.. (4, Interesting)

seebs (15766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689770)

I can't find it off the top of my head, but I once read an article about a Chinese intellectual who argued that the ideographs would have to go for China to reach its full potential.

There are oddities of an ideographic language which do pose some difficulties. Even a fluent full-time writer can encounter new words. In an alphabetic language, if you hear a word, you can guess at how it might be spelled to look it up. In a language like Chinese, you usually (but not always) can't guess how it's written well enough to look it up. Then, if you see it written, you may not have any guess as to how it's pronounced, leaving you with the possibility of encountering a word twice in one day without even a clue that they're the same word.

That's a bit of a simplification, as in some cases you can make a pretty good educated guess as to the sound of a word, or look things up by pronunciation. Still, it's an issue, and it's not just an issue for people who learn Chinese as a second language.

Re:Not necessarily popular with the Chinese, eithe (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689914)

Chinese people do have dictionaries, you know. Every (modern) Chinese dictionary I've ever seen have two sections - one keyed towards a Pinyin pronounciation (then arranged by accent, and finally arranged by something like the number of strokes in a character) or one keyed towards the written character itself (selecting the radical of a character and then arranged by stroke order of the word).

Sounds kinda French (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689776)

This is certain to be a winner, look how well the lnguage purity laws have worked out in France.

This sort of thing is a sign of desperation, they see their culture being eroded by Western ideas and being a dictatorship use the one tool at thier disposal, tyranny and top down rules. Thomas Friedman is probably in a state of ectasy ut everyone else should either denouce them or just hope they someday collapse like the other communist hellholes are in the process of doing.

China, and their pet Norks are about the last final sad devotees of their failed religion. When Castro finally starts transitioning to a more open society the great battle of ideas is pretty much over. Now if somebody could tell the sad holdouts in out current administration before they finish off our country.

Re:Sounds kinda French (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689948)

This sort of thing is a sign of desperation, they see their culture being eroded by Western ideas and being a dictatorship use the one tool at thier disposal, tyranny and top down rules. Thomas Friedman is probably in a state of ectasy ut everyone else should either denouce them or just hope they someday collapse like the other communist hellholes are in the process of doing.

Friedman's position might be more nuanced than you'd think. Despite his recent and somewhat bizarre love affair with Chinese autocracy, he's had a lot to say about globalization and the inability to resist it for years.

To me, he's a guy I think is wrong as much as he's right, yet, always has something interesting to say. He makes you think even if often what you think is, "He's totally wrong about that."

Firefly got it right (1)

schklerg (1130369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689836)

I always thought the swearing and yelling in Chinese was a realistic outcome as the world becomes more meshed. It looks like it may come sooner than later.

Daily Business Usage (1)

tredman (229468) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689884)

When the Nigerian scammers are using Chinese for their daily business, then I'll believe that it's supplanted English as a major language on the Internet.

Captain Reynolds to the bridge (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689886)

Pretty soon the world will be just like Firefly!

Mal: Petty?
Inara: I didn't mean petty.
Mal: What did you mean?
Inara: Suo xie?
Mal: That's Chinese for petty.

Re:Captain Reynolds to the bridge (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690016)

It's not so long ago that everyone in the future was going to be speaking Japanese. We know how well that prediction turned out.

Unlikely (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689892)

China has one simple problem: It's significantly different from most other languages. It's related to Japanese, Korean and a few other east-asian languages, but it's extremely difficult to learn unless you speak one of those. English is an Indo-European language - it's related to everything from German and French to Arabic and Hindi. Thus, there's more people, by far, who can easily (for varying values of easy) learn English than there are who can easily learn Chinese. Thus, English is much better suited to being a "lingua franca" than Chinese. Sure, French or Spanish or Esperanto could do that job just as easily (being related to just as many languages), but Chinese-language dominance of the Internet is about as likely as Swahili.

This isn't even getting into the problem of "Chinese pages rarely link to non-Chinese pages". You could make the argument that the Chinese 'net is separate from the international 'net, because there's so few links between them. Really, the only pages in Chinese are intended for Chinese people - you don't see the Associated Press publishing in Chinese, the way you see Xinhua publishing in English. I would be hard-pressed to find a site about, say, Russian literature, written in Chinese - but I could easily do so in English.

Re:Unlikely (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690142)

Thus, there's more people, by far, who can easily (for varying values of easy) learn English than there are who can easily learn Chinese.

I once talked with a naitive chinese speaker about learning english vs learning chinese. The guy was very smart and had a good vocabulary in english, but he had real problems with his accent. He says that while learning to read and write chinese is a nightmare, actually speaking chinese is surprisingly easy for americans. He says the major cities are full of foreigners who can speak chinese, have great vocabularies, and nail the pronunciation, even with the crazy intonation. But they may not be able to read it very well at all.

This matches my own experience with Japanese. I'm not fluent, but I get by well. For example, on my last visit to Japan, I managed to navigate customs entirely in Japanese. I can read and write hiragana and katakana well enough. But I only know maybe 100 kanji. Speaking japanese really is not as bad as it sounds. I found it as easy to learn as french for example.

English on the other hand is a nightmare to learn to speak and to read/write. The spelling system is screwed up. There's 600,000 to 1,000,000 million words depending on who you ask. There's a dozen or more dialects, each with their own exclusive set of idioms. The south africans are almost unintelligible. We have crazy grammar rules. We have 273 irregular verbs. (only latin and italian have more iirc) And native speakers abuse the language like you wouldn't believe. Even our grandparents often use different idioms and pronunciations than we do. I'd hate to have to learn english as a second language.

Re:Unlikely (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690250)

I am a native Chinese speaker who learned English (albeit at a fairly young age). I am now in my late 20s and I still have some problems with the grammar. I think the biggest problem that Chinese speakers have in English is with regards to past/present/future tenses and also for plurals. In Chinese, there's no such thing as tenses or plurals, so I always get confused with stuff like subject-verb agreement or sentences that use have/has.

Re:Unlikely (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690280)

There's 600,000 to 1,000,000 million words depending on who you ask.

Whom. Get it right.

The myth of language purity (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34689942)

Language purity is a myth. What makes a language identifiable is its oddities and idiosyncracies. Language "mashups" tend to enrich all sides.

CORRECTION (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690024)

Chinese TYPED language to dominate the Internet.

Translators (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690032)

I don't see a big change in the internet's language. Rather I see more translators available for each site, either manual or automated.

It is un-English, it is un-American; it is French. (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690072)

Few things could more hearten those who worry about the coming Chinese domination of the world than the news that they are taking their cue from the French obsession with the purity of their language (presumably Mandarin and not any of the others, I suspect.)

The Chinese are having trouble... (3, Interesting)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690112)

... remembering how to write their own language [slashdot.org] thanks to auto-completing Latin-to-Chinese. The Chinese takeover of the Web may yet happen, but I wonder how long it will be before Chinese itself is overtaken by some Latin transliterations.

They can have my English (1)

Bryan Bytehead (9631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690120)

when they pry the dictionary from my cold dead fingers!

We all need to learn (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690162)

...Latin ...Spanish ...French ...German ...Japanese ...Spanish ...Chinese

Languages myths rise and fall. If your economic value is their, people will find a way to talk to you. If not, it won't.

China has one thing going for it - numbers. That is the same, tired old argument made by my teachers to learn Spanish. Nope.

Chinese is a beautiful, ancient, language that is totally unsuited for modern life. The second China created the print, the language should have been redone. Yes, they had a poor man's printing press 500 years before Gutenberg. But they did not create moveable type because their language did not have letters, just words. That was a huge mistake.

Trying to claim that Chinese will suplement English is like claiming Fortran will overtake Java because of how many supercomputers use it.

The whole article is bullshit. (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690184)

Sure, if you go by strict "what's your mother tongue" criterion, then mandarin might outweight english when simply summing up the internet penetration of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, NZ and a couple of smaller nations. But this leaves out India and pretty much most of Europe where you simply don't exist as a conversation partner without knowing english.

Point in case, I'm a hungarian guy who leaves english comments/posts on slashdot, facebook, twitter, tumblr, stackoverflow and the list goes on. Chinese written language is nowhere near dominating the internet, it misses the mark by at least 2 billion people.

Actually... not really (1)

pyalot (1197273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690200)

You see, By speakers there's 330 million Spanish speakers and 330 million English speakers, there's also 240 Million Hindi/Urdu speakers. That's more then the 800 Million Mandarin speakers in itself, but that doesn't matter. Because if the Spanish want to talk to the Hindi/Urdu speakers, or the Chinese to the Spanish, they'll just use English. That is of course to the delight of everybody else who also speaks English (either natively, or as a second language, or because their countries official language is English (even if their everyday language isn't).

The question that really addresses this wrong assertion is: Why has English become the lingua franka of the internet, and not say German, Spanish, French or Chinese? The answer is pretty simple: English (as opposed to German, French, Swedish etc. of the indo-germanic/latin root) is relatively simple to learn for anybody natively speaking indo-germanic/latin root language (really many people). Chinese on the other hand is anything but simple. People who do not speak it by far and large (in terms of percentage) will never be able to gain any substantial reading/writing proficiency in it, or pick it up drive-by style (as many do English). Chinese (written) is also pretty much a dead language. It has been honed over something like 5000 years by the Chinese into the near perfect albeit ludicrously verbose set of glyphs, and as such is not amenable to pidgin (although spoken it is another story).

./ now exclusively in chinese (1)

drcheap (1897540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690202)

史诗失败

Does this mean we'll get new IP protocols? (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690238)

Will there be variants of say, SIP or HTTP where actual method names, like GET or INVITE, or header-field names like Contact: will be in Chinese? That would make parsing interesting.

Equivalent of... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34690246)

So what will they decree be the Chinese equivalent of "Cumgargler"?

What's "the sky is falling" in Chinese? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34690254)

Really, haven't we grown up past this sort of FUD article yet?

The fact that 32% of the internet users are Chinese (and that segment is growing the fastest) doesn't ipso facto mean they're using Chinese on the internet.

Why do editors even post this crap? I'd rather see Roland linking his blog every day again.

Alphabet For the WIN!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34690258)

I study both Japanese and Chinese and I love languages. But I can guarantee you that outside China that neither Mandarin nor Cantonese will ever become the lingua franca of the world. The alphabet is vastly superior because Chinese ideographs are very complex and require enormous memorization for basic literacy. Also if you wish to read and pronounce verbally a character you never encountered before then you must have a dictionary with you. How else could you say the syllable to someone else unless you write it to paper? You can't. The influence of the Chinese languages is due to their enormous population, not to their cultural and political influence. Everyone else in the world will prefer alphabetic languages such as English, French, Spanish and German. So don't fret too much ;-)

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