Language Choice on University Websites: Longitudinal Trends

Ewa Callahan, Susan C. Herring


This study analyzes linguistic versions of the Web pages of 1,140 universities in 57 countries via a content analysis of language use at three points in time over a five-year period. The results are partially inconsistent with previous theories of Internet multilingualism. As an alternative, we propose a tri-level multiglossia model in which the national language is the core language used to communicate with the native population of the country; English is the first additional language, aimed at an international audience; and other secondary languages target specific groups. Over the five-year period, the first level remained stable, the second increased, and the third increased the most. This suggests that even in the domain of higher education, the Web is becoming increasingly multilingual.

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