In 2005, a minority language achieved an historic world record: the first allocation of an Internet top level domain name (TLD) to a specific language: Catalan. This precedent has inspired many minority language communities, keen to raise the prestige of their languages and thus avoid language decline. This thesis poses and answers the following questions: What are minority languages? What challenges do they face in gaining greater use on the Internet? Are there any reliable estimates of the use of human languages on the Internet? A new taxonomy is created to resolve confusion on the state of Internet language use. Have the proponents of the major Spanish minority languages (Catalan, Galician and Basque) followed the historical approaches of the ?majority language? champions in promoting their languages and cultures globally? A macro-history of language promotion by Europe?s colonial powers, and of Spain?s regional language nationalism, is developed to answer this question. Internet initiatives by the Basques, Catalans, and Galicians are surveyed and compared for the first time. And the special support role of Spain?s regional diasporas is identified.
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Peter Gerrand PhD is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of Language, Culture & Linguistics at Monash University, and Professorial Fellow in Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He received the Charles Todd Medal in 1998 and an Australian Government Centenary Medal in 2003. He is also Managing Editor of Telecomms.J.Australia.
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