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Linguistic neighbourhoods: explaining cultural borders on Wikipedia through multilingual co-editing activity
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
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2016 (English)In: EPJ Data Science, ISSN 2193-1127, Vol. 5, 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we study the network of global interconnections between language communities, based on shared co-editing interests of Wikipedia editors, and show that although English is discussed as a potential lingua franca of the digital space, its domination disappears in the network of co-editing similarities, and instead local connections come to the forefront. Out of the hypotheses we explored, bilingualism, linguistic similarity of languages, and shared religion provide the best explanations for the similarity of interests between cultural communities. Population attraction and geographical proximity are also significant, but much weaker factors bringing communities together. In addition, we present an approach that allows for extracting significant cultural borders from editing activity of Wikipedia users, and comparing a set of hypotheses about the social mechanisms generating these borders. Our study sheds light on how culture is reflected in the collective process of archiving knowledge on Wikipedia, and demonstrates that cross-lingual interconnections on Wikipedia are not dominated by one powerful language. Our findings also raise some important policy questions for the Wikimedia Foundation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 5, 9
Keyword [en]
Wikipedia, multilingual, cultural similarity, network, digital language divide, socio-linguistics, digital humanities, hypothesis testing
National Category
Communication Studies Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-129996DOI: 10.1140/epjds/s13688-016-0070-8ISI: 000386965900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-129996DiVA: diva2:1064591
Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-11 Last updated: 2017-01-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf