Did you know that there are nearly 7,000 languages spoken worldwide? Crazy, right? With so many options, it's no wonder there are language barriers. But have you ever thought about which languages are most commonly used on the Internet? Although English generally the most widely used language, there are parts of the Internet where other languages are more prominent. In the European Union, for example, the most commonly used language on the Internet is German, followed by English, French and Spanish.
European languages and cultures on the Internet
European languages and cultures play an important role on the Internet. Looking at the population of the EU, Germany has the largest population, followed by France, Spain and the United Kingdom. These countries all have their own unique languages and cultures, which play a major role on the Internet.
How many languages are spoken in Europe?
According to the European Union, there are 24 official languages in the EU.
Bulgarian, Danish, German, English (even after Brexit, English remains an official language within the EU. Indeed, both Malta and Ireland have English as their official national language), Estonian, Finnish, French, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Croatian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Slovak, Spanish, Czech and Swedish.
These are basically the official languages of the member states. Croatian was added last as an official EU language in 2013.
What does official EU language status mean? Suppose EU legislation is made for a group of countries. Then it will be written in all official languages. For example, EU legislation for Scandinavia is written in Swedish, Finnish and Danish. And EU legislation for the entire European Union is translated into all 24 languages.
In addition, Members of the European Parliament are always allowed to speak in one of these 24 languages. Then the other members get a live translation in their own language. The idea behind this is that everyone can communicate in his or her own language.
To make communication in the corridors easier, the EU has 3 working languages: English, French and German. Every employee speaks at least one of these languages, and usually two or all three.
The Internet as a leveler for European languages
The Internet is a global phenomenon, and that means that people from all over the world use it for various purposes, including communication, entertainment and education. This means that people are more likely to encounter a Web site in their own language. In addition, the Internet is a great leveler. It gives people access to information they would not otherwise have, especially for people living in countries where their native language is not widely spoken.
Searching for information in European languages on the Internet
So if you ever feel lost in the vastness of the Internet, don't worry. Chances are you'll find what you're looking for in one of the most widely used languages on the Internet, whether it's one of the 24 official EU languages or a minority or regional language. European languages and cultures are an important part of the Internet, and they help strengthen global communication and understanding between different cultures.