Saturday, July 23, 2005

Web addresses in Chinese?

[key words: internet, nominet, english, domain names]

The Grauniad reports that Nominet is considering allowing registration of domain names using non-Roman alphabet character-sets under the .uk TLD. Potentially this could include the use of accented characters (as in café, for example), other alphabets such as Arabic, or even non-alphabetic scripts such as Chinese.

This is, says the Guardian, "
in a move designed to reflect the country's multicultural mix".

This seems to me to be a bad idea.

One of the web's, and in particular the domain name system's, great advantages is its universality.

I would be very surprised if fewer than 99.99% of people  who use the internet
worldwide, are not familiar with the Roman alphabet. The same cannot be said for Arabic, Chinese, Laotian or other writing systems.

the majority of the world's population does not speak" English, points out the Guardian. Fine. Websites can be in whatever language they want, and rightly so.

But keep domain names in the universally-understood Roman alphabet. It's got nothing to do with the dominance of English, or cultural imperialism. It's just the only alphabet that everyone in the world can read - and type.

The Nominet proposal, on which public comments are sought, is here.



  1. Anyone else thinking about grabbing microsó

  2. Anyone else thinking about grabbing microsó