Digital Divide: Low German and other Minority Languages

Heiko Wiggers

Abstract


This paper investigates the online presence of Low German, a minority language spoken in northern Germany, as well as several other European regional and minority languages. In particular, this article presents the results of two experiments, one involving Wikipedia and one involving Twitter, that assess whether and to which extent minority languages are used on these websites. The article argues that minority and regional languages are not only underrepresented online due to a combination of historical, linguistic, sociological, and demographic reasons, but that the overall architecture of the World Wide Web and its most visited websites is such that smaller languages do not stand a chance to gain a meaningful online presence.

 


Keywords


Low German, endangered languages, minority languages online

Full Text:

PDF

References


Batibo, H. M. (2009). Language Documentation as a Strategy for the Empowerment of the Minority Languages of Africa. Selected Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, 193-203.

Cormack, M. & Hourigan, N. (2007). Minority Language Media. Concepts, Critiques and Case Studies. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Cornips, L. & Nguyen, D & Trieschnigg, D. (2015). Audience and the Use of Minority Languages on Twitter. Proceedings of the Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 666-669.

Cunliffe, D. (2007). Minority languages and the internet: new threats, new opportunities. In Mike Cormack & Niamh Hourigan (Eds.) Minority Language Media: Concepts, Critiques, and Case Studies (pp.133-150). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Dolowy-Rybinska, N. (2013). Kashubian and Modern Media: The Influence of new Technologies on Endangered Languages. In Elin Haf Gruffyyd Jones & Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed (Eds.) Social Media and Minority Languages: Convergence and the Creative Industries (pp. 119-130). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Emmanoulido, L. (2014). For Rare Languages, Social Media Provide New Hope. [online, NPR]. Available: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/07/26/333732206/for-rare-languages-social-media-provide-new-hope (February 15, 2017).

Fishman, J. (1999). The new linguistic world order. Foreign Policy 113(1), 26-40.

Gottfried, J. & Shearer, E. (2016). News Use across Social Media Platforms 2016. [online, Pew Research Center]. Available: http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/ (February 15, 2017).

Greenwood, S. & Perrin, A. & Duggan, M. (2016). Social Media Update 2016. [online, Pew Research Center]. Available: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/ (February 15, 2017).

Kornai, A. (2013). Digital Language Death. PLOS ONE 8(10), 1-11.

Kruse, A. (1993). Zur Lage des Plattdeutschen im nordwestlichen Ostfriesland. Ergebnisse einer Befragung von Schülern und Schülerinnen aus Emden und Umgebung. Quickborn 86, 64-83.

Lafrance, A. (2015). How many websites are there? [online, The Atlantic] Available: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/09/how-many-websites-are-there/408151/ (February 15, 2017)

Mooko, T. (2006). Counteracting the Threat of Language Death: The case of minority languages in Botswana. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 27(2), 109-125.

Möller, F. (2008). Plattdeutsch im 21. Jahrhundert. Bremen: Verlag Schuster Leer.

Paolillo, J. & Pimienta, D. & Prado, D. (2005). Measuring Linguistic Diversity on the Internet. United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization.

Perlin, R. (2014). The Internet, where languages go to die? [Online, Al-Jazeera America] Available:http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/3/languagelinguisticstechnologyinternetdigitaldivideicann.html (February 15, 2017).

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon 9(5), 1-6.

Reershemius, G. (2015). Kleinere, regionale und Minderheitssprachen im Web 2.0 am Beispiel des Niederdeutschen. In Elin Fredsted & Robert Langhanke & Astrid Westergaard (Eds.), Modernisierung in kleinen und regionalen Sprachen (pp. 53-83). Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag.

Robben B. & Robben A. (1993). Mundartgebrauch im Kreis Emsland: eine regionale Schüler- und Elternbefragung. In Ludger Kremer (Ed.), Diglossiestudien: Dialekt und Standardsprache im niederländisch-deutschen Grenzland. (pp. 89-122). Vreden: Landeskundliches Institut Westmünsterland.

Sanders, W. (1982). Sachsensprache, Hansesprache, Plattdeutsch. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Sperlich, W.B. (2005). Will cyberforums save endangered languages? A Niuean case study. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 172, 51-77.

Stellmacher, D. (1990). Niederdeutsche Sprache – eine Einführung. Bern: Lang Verlag

Stern, A. (2016). Technology to the Endangered Language Rescue! [online, The Huffington Post]. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alissa-stern/technology-to-the-endange_b_6225900.html (February 15, 2017).

Tophinke, D. (2015). Spurensuche – Zur Gegenwart des Niederdeutschen im ostwestfälischen Raum. Jahrbuch des Vereins für niederdeutsche Sprachforschung 138, 119-145.

Wiggers, R.K. (1988). Zum Stand des Plattdeutschen bei Oldenburger Schülerinnen und Schülern. Quickborn, 78, 15-18.

Wirrer, J. (1998). Zum Status des Niederdeutschen. Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik 26 (3), 309-340.

Wright, S. (2006Wright, Sue (2006). Regional or Minority Languages on the WWW. Journal of Language and Politics, 5(2), 189-216.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.2p.130

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.