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Southeast Asia

From Strategic Planning

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian languages and their Wikipedias

Wiki code Language Primary country Number of speakers (Millions) Potential users (Millions) Number of articles (7-09) # of articles >1500 bytes (7-09) Articles, 1 year growth rate (5/08-5/09) # of 5+ editors (5-09) 5+ editors, 1 year growth rate (5/08-5/09) 5+ editors, 2 year growth rate (5/07-5/09) Article-to-editor ratio
id Indonesian Indonesia *163 17.95 108,309 22,745 27% 229 12% 10% 473
tl Tagalog/ Filipino Philippines *90 5.4 22,669 2,494 35% 49 17% 104% 463
vi Vietnamese Viet Nam *68 14.41 93,236 28,903 110% 302 35% 82% 309
th Thai Thailand *60 12.08 48,637 17,996 31% 343 30% 73% 142
ms Malay Malaysia 42 26.1 44,542 11,136 38% 92 11% 28% 484
my Burmese Myanmar 32 0.03 1,278 473 622% 22 267% 450% 58
km Khmer Cambodia 14 0.07 2,213 620 95% 15 7% 650% 148
  • Includes second language speakers[1]

Southeast Asian languages

  • There are over 470 million speakers of the 7 major Southeast Asian languages (Indonesian Tagalog/ Filipino Vietnamese, Thai, Malay, Burmese and Khmer) comprising 80% of the population of Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao, Singapore and Timor Leste. See Further opportunities to extend reach in Europe, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa
  • All of the 7 languages listed are official languages of the primary country listed and are used extensively in the local print media.
  • The length of the written history of these languages varies from country to country. Most of the languages have written material available in a wide variety of topics but may have limited resources for advanced technical topics
  • There are many other languages spoken in Southeast Asia, these 7 were chosen due to their large number of speakers, importance as official languages, and as mediums of educational instruction.

Internet penetration in Southeast Asia


  • Internet access varies dramatically from country to country.
    • Malaysia and Singapore both have high rates of Internet use of 63% and 69% of the population respectively.
    • Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia have moderate rates of Internet use of between 11-21% of the population.
    • Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao and Timor Leste all have Internet use rates of less than 2% of the population.

Southeast Asian languages and education

  • All of the languages listed are used as mediums of instruction at the elementary and high school level in countries listed the primary country of the language
  • Malaysia:
    • In Malaysia, primary and secondary education is either taught in Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, or Malay.
    • Currently, science and math classes at the secondary level are taught in English, but as of 2012 these classes will be taught in either Malay, Mandarin Chinese, or Tamil.
    • Most private universities use English as the medium for instruction, public universities use a combination of Malay and English.
  • Philippines:
    • Education in the Philippines is bilingual in English and Filipino.
    • Higher education is largely done in English.
  • Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia
    • Education at all levels, from primary to tertiary, is conducted in the national language.
    • Thailand and Indonesia have strong English as a second language programs in their school systems and as a result have high levels of English literacy, while few Vietnamese are literate in English.

Southeast Asian language Wikipedias

  • Growth of Southeast Asian language Wikipedias has depended upon two factors, the number of language speakers with Internet access, and the degree of English language literacy.
    • Greater the number of potential users and lower levels of English literacy are correlated with larger wikipedias
    • Languages that have a very small numbers of potential users have experienced limited growth
    • There are eight other Wikipedias in South East Asian languages up more than 3 million speakers
    • Javanese - 33,960 articles, Cebuanu - 39,202 articles, Sunda - 14,791 articles, Buginese - 8,610 articles, Banyumasan-Javanese - 3.620 articles, Acehnese - 1,525 articles, Banjarese - 1,162 articles, Tetun - 616 articles

Barriers to the growth of Southeast Asian language Wikipedias

  • Khmer and Burmese are severely limited by lack of Internet access amongst native language speakers
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  1. Information on languages from Ethnologue 2009 http://www.ethnologue.com Potential users is calculated by multiplying the number of language speakers by the national or regional Internet use rate. Internet use rates from the International Telecom Union 2008
  2. Information on Internet use from International Telecommunications Union 2008 /