English and Russian languages ​​were more important to the Chinese and Arabic

Scientists have proposed a new method for estimating the global significance of international languages ​​- those that are used to communicate a significant number of people around the world. The researchers built a contact card major languages ​​of the planet and found that Chinese and Arabic, despite the huge number of speakers, inferior to influence not only English but also other European languages. New research presented in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The relationship of World Languages ​​scientists determined based on three types of data. This information on 2.2 million transferred from 1979 to 2011 books, recorded in the database UNESCO Index Translationum, information on Wikipedia editors involved in writing articles in several languages ​​(processed 2.5 million editors who worked on the 382 million articles) and data on a billion tweets posted from December 2011 to February 2012 (communications monitored by the presence of two or more languages ​​in a Twitter-account).

It was found that the impact of the global map languages ​​has a hierarchical structure: the central node communication (hub) - English, surrounded hubs second order: German, French, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese. Although Arabic, Chinese and Hindi are considered far more important international languages ​​- they say a lot more people than, for example, in German or Russian - on the cultural significance they are much smaller than the last.

Most likely, the case in the isolation of these languages ​​with Chinese and Arabic translations are very few books and articles, the English, Russian, Spanish for historical reasons are intermediate language for hundreds of small languages ​​on the planet. For example, the idea of ​​the Siberian Evenki reach Quechua only through the mediation of the three global languages: they need to be translated from the Evenki into Russian, from Russian to English, English to Spanish, and finally, from Spanish into Quechua.

The study’s authors emphasize that the determination of the structure acts as a conservative cultural sphere (translated books) and new media (Twitter and Wikipedia). Scientists point to the importance of long-term monitoring: so will understand the importance of enhanced if global English, and as far as economic growth in China and India affect the cultural impact of their languages.

17 December 2014

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