Internationalised Domain Names: State of play

Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) have become strongly linked with Internet governance discussions on multilingualism. Of approximately 6 000 languages in the world, only 12 languages accounted for 98% of Internet web pages in 2008. English is the dominant language online. In collaboration with UNESCO, EURid (the .eu registry) presents this study on Internationalised Domain names (IDNs), which explains what an IDN is, gives a brief history and timeline of significant milestones and touches on the policy debate surrounding multilingualism on the Internet.

The study also provides an analysis of the data, which focuses on the deployment of IDNs over the past ten years and the strong linkages between country code top-level domain (ccTLD ) registries’ IDN deployment and local languages, and contrasts the experiences of Latin-based scripts with others. Moving on to deployment of IDN.IDN, the study looks at the recent launches of السعودية . (Saudi Arabia), and .рф (Russian Federation), reviewing registration figures and other factors supporting growth. The document then looks at barriers to uptake, particularly the lack of email functionality for IDNs, and explores the relationship between a multi-script addressing system and multilingual content.

Next, it considers UNESCO’s work in tracking multilingual Internet content and the challenges of finding accurate indicators of linguistic diversity. Given that there are strong links between ccTLDs and local languages, and the availability of accurate, full data relating to IDN registrations, the study concludes that there may be benefits in targeting IDN s for research into the growth of multilingual content over time.



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