Saturday, May 06, 2006

Oh Say Can You See ...

David Sifry's "State of the Blogosphere, April 2006" includes a report on the distribution of use according to the primary language in which the posting was composed. Sifry prefaces with a number of qualifiers that include differences in posting styles, the need for more sophisticated tracking for blogging in the Koreas, China, and France, and potential issues with the software that "reads" the languages.

The outcome is nonetheless as surprising as Sifry suggests it might be for English speaking bloggers: "English isn't the biggest language of the blogosphere. In fact, English isn't even the primary language of one third of all posts that Technorati tracks anymore." I note this aspect of the report largely with thought toward my first-year composition students who often engage online writing for the first time when they begin my class. Here is one more way to bring the global community into view, to situate the measure of familiarity and homogeneity in new light, and to provoke reconsideration for stablized perspectives. If at no other point, taking my students online pays big returns in that moment when one or more of them realize what "not alone in the world" might really mean.

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