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Net.Lang: pursuing a linguistically equitable Internet

Net.Lang attempts to equip a concerned and informed public with the necessary analysis and methodology to extract the maximum benefit from the Internet, to catalyse an equitable representation of languages.

- Daniel Prado, Executive Secretary of the Maaya Network

(March 2012) The Maaya World Network for Linguistic Diversity has released a new collection of articles on the topic of multilingualism and the Internet. Net.Lang: Towards the Multilingual Cyberspace aims to raise awareness and explores strategies for improving Internet accessibility for speakers of all languages. Among the contributing researchers is Dr. Maik Gibson of SIL.

In a chapter entitled “Preserving the Heritage of Extinct or Endangered Languages,” Gibson examines the role of the Internet in promoting the vitality of the world’s minority languages and re-establishing heritage languages. Because the situations faced by language communities vary widely, a “one size fits all” approach is insufficient. Gibson provides a number of case studies that illustrate various approaches for reaching these goals.

Net.Lang is available for free download in English and French. A Russian translation is in process and the publisher invites translations in additional languages.

SIL is committed to supporting the efforts of communities to protect and enhance their ethnolinguistic heritage and recognizes the potential of the Internet as a powerful tool for language vitality. One of SIL’s major contributions to an increasingly multilingual Internet is the development of fonts for languages which could not previously be typed on a standard keyboard. Graphite is a “smart font” system designed to render complex scripts. ScriptSource provides resources and facilitates collaboration on fonts for the world’s writing systems.

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