Search This Blog

Thursday, 6 May 2010

'Historic' day as first non-latin web addresses go live

Arab nations are leading a "historic" charge to make the world wide web live up to its name. Net regulator Icann has switched on a system that allows full web addresses that contain no Latin characters. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the first countries to have so-called "country codes" written in Arabic scripts.

The move is the first step to allow web addresses in many scripts including Chinese, Thai and Tamil. More than 20 countries have requested approval for international domains from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).

"All three are Arabic script domains, and will enable domain names written fully right-to-left," said Kim Davies of Icann in a blog post.

This has to be great news for countries which do not have English as their first language as there has been worries in some quarters that you were starting to see a kind of dominance of the world through the English language, and that those who could not read it, were increasingly being left behind in a kind of digital divide.

Now, whether you are Chinese, Thai, or an Arab, you will be able to have web sites specifically created to cater for you and thus act as a kind of mirror to the life that you yourself lead, not something that is reflected back at you through the medium of another language, with all the cultural baggage that inevitably goes with it, and which leads to a kind of cultural hegemony. Very welcome news for minority languages indeed!

No comments: