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Country and Regional TLDs Are Vital in Supporting Online Linguistic Diversity, Study Finds

A study conducted by the Oxford Information Labs in collaboration with Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR), finds that the role of country and regional TLDs is imperative in supporting diversity in global online linguistic. The study was made possible as a result of rare access to the raw data and language analysis of more than 16.4 million domains in order to explore the extent to which ccTLD and geographic TLD are a factor in local language usage online.

Country and regional TLDs boost the presence of local languages online: The study found that the pattern of language usage is not random, but matches the native languages of the country or territory represented by the TLD. For example: "Slovak, which accounts for 0.4% of the world's websites10, is the language of 64% (91,000+) of .sk domains. Likewise, the percentage of 'other' languages in each zone is low (typically less than 5%), indicating that internet users view each ccTLD as reflecting the geographic country or territory and its languages."

English language sites showed low-quality content: After the elimination of low-quality content, such as single page and suspected domain name parking sites, the percentage of English language sites fell across every country and regional TLD in the study, according to the report. "This leads to the conclusion that English is more likely to be the language of low-quality web content."

Presence of indigenous or minority languages is weak: Study concluded that ccTLDs show consistent alignment with the principal languages spoken in the relevant country or territory, but the presence of indigenous or minority languages is weak. "Despite the global nature of the web, the languages online do not reflect those of the real world. In this context, the role of country and regional TLDs is all the more essential in supporting online linguistic diversity."

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