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Egypt’s official language is Arabic†. China’s official language is Chinese*. OK fine, we knew that. But isn’t it a bit ironic that more than half of the world’s 1.6 billion internet users speak languages with non-Latin scripts, yet all internet domain names are written in Latin characters?

This is about to change, and it is already being hailed as the biggest change in the 40-year history of the internet. ICANN (see ‘Yes we can, says ICANN: new top-level domains coming in 2010‘) the body that regulates the internet, has announced plans to allow for so-called Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) by changing the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) in order to allow for website names to be written with non-Latin scripts such as Chinese, Cyrillic, and Arabic.

The Lobby thinks this sounds great – the more the merrier, but some have warned that this will only lead to fragmentation of the net…

The new IDNs will be introduced some time in 2010.

– Emil

† Standard Arabic

* Standard Mandarin (spoken) & simplified Chinese (written)

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