An Analysis of the Language Repertoires of Students in Higher Education and their Language Choices on the Internet

(Ukraine, Poland, Macedonia, Italy, France, Tanzania, Oman and Indonesia)


Helen Kelly Holmes

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Abstract

This paper reports on the Internet practices of 2267 students in eight different countries. All of the respondents were students with some degree of English language competence and a likely need to research using the WWW as a resource. The major finding was that, for the group as a whole, English is used less than their national language in all Internet applications. However there was marked disparity among different national groups. Those bilinguals whose repertoire includes English and a prestigious national language with large numbers of speakers and an economy which can support and promote this language on the Internet are using both of these languages on the Internet and do not seem to be shifting massively to English in this medium. In contrast, however, using English on the Internet may be contributing to language shift for those whose languages do not have many speakers or where the language community does not have the economic resources to fund sites in the language.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Kelly Holmes, Helen. An Analysis of the Language Repertoires of Students in Higher Education and their Language Choices on the Internet. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2004, vol. 6, no.1, pp. 52-75. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol6/issue1/art3

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