*Visualizing and understanding how online language areas are made and
Wednesday 25 April 2012
*All are Welcome*
Do you recognize language codes such as "en","zh" and "ar" or country codes
such as "cn", "hk", or "mo" when you use online services and applications?
These codes are not merely the technical standards on which the internet
can be truly international “to interchange data in a multiplicity of
languages”, but also the essential knowledge with which the “language
industry” serves consumers and citizens with a specific geographic and
linguistic profile. Since these codes are instrumental for online services
and interactions, researchers can study and visualize them. This talk
presents research outcome of visualizing and analyzing (1) Wikipedia’s
interlanguage links and (2) the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) across
Chinese-speaking regions as illustrative examples to see how “online
language areas” (or Net Sprachraum) are made and interconnected. It is
further argued that the concept of online language areas fills the gap, and
resolves some tensions, between the concept of “networked individualism”
and “nationalized cyberspace”, pointing to some recent Internet
development, including online Chinese-speaking and Arabic-speaking areas.
Thus, to understand how the Internet is truly interconnected, both within
and across, languages and regions, researchers need to understand how the
language and country codes are used to shape online language areas.