The Language Divide—The Persistence of English Proficiency as a Gateway to the Internet: The Cases of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia

Katy E. Pearce, Ronald E. Rice


Understanding sociodemographic barriers to adoption and use of the Internet continues to be an important research topic, especially considering the increased importance of access and use of information and communication technologies around the world. Extending a digital divide framework, this study analyzes the influences on and relations among awareness, adoption, and (frequent) use of the Internet in the developing countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Data from nationally representative samples fit a model predicting that age, economic well-being, education, urbanness, and English proficiency all influence each Internet digital divide. Age, education, and urbanness are the primary determinants of awareness of the Internet. Language proficiency is the second most important determinant of adoption and the most important influence on use. Despite growing Internet adoption, inequality remains, based on sociodemographic and economic status at each Internet divide. In addition, for these linguistically isolated states, English proficiency being a strong influence on adoption and use indicates a further divide between elites and nonelites.


Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Internet, technology, language, English, digital divide

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