English messages account for only half of the messages on Twitter, a study of 2.8 million tweets has revealed. The analysis, carried out by Semiocast, showed that the top 5 languages used on Twitter are: English, Japanese, Portuguese, Malay and Spanish.
The study was conducted on messages gathered over a period of 48 hours, from February 8 to February 10, 2010 to establish Twitter’s most used language ranking. The messages were processed with Semiocast’s analysis tools which can identify the language used in short messages among 41 languages in all major writing systems (including Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Korean, Tamil, Devanagari, …).
English is still the most used language on Twitter, with 50% of messages, reflecting its high penetration rate in English-speaking countries and the tendency of Twitter users that are non-native English speakers to tweet in English. This is nonetheless a sharp decline from the two-third share English was representing in the first half of 2009. In the near future, English’s share should drop even further as the strongest growth for Twitter is expected to come from non-English speaking countries.