LINGUIST List 7.681

Fri May 10 1996

Sum: Internet/Superhighway

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Waruno Mahdi, Summary: "Internet"/"Superhighway" (7-606)

Message 1: Summary: "Internet"/"Superhighway" (7-606)

Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 18:18:41 +0200
From: Waruno Mahdi <>
Subject: Summary: "Internet"/"Superhighway" (7-606)
In the 7-606 issue (Tue Apr 23 1996) I launched a query:

> Could you please help me find out how one says "Internet" and
> "Superhighway" (as in "Information S...") in any of the following
> languages?

followed by a long list of languages. The reason for my interest: a
query had been launched in an Indonesian-language mailing-list arguing
for a proposed translation of "Infomation Superhighway" into
Indonesian. I wanted to get an overview of how the matter was handled
in other languages, with special attention to languages I expected
would tend to translate (calque) rather than borrow.

Here is the list of repliers (in order of incoming mails) with the
languages for which they provided data:

Ana Patricia Rona <> -- Spanish (Rio de la Plata) (1)
Tomoji Tabata <> -- Japanese (1)
Wenchao Li <> -- Chinese: mainland (1a)
 & Taiwan (1b)
Caoimhin P. ODonnaile <>
 -- Scottish & Irish Gaelic
Szigetvari Peter <> -- Hungarian (1)
Jakob Dempsey <> -- Chinese (2)
Rick Mc Callister <>
 -- Spanish (2)
Ori Pomerantz <> -- Hebrew
Nick Nicholas <>
 -- Greek
Molnar Zoltan <> -- Hungarian (2) & Japanese (2)
Ricardo Gomez Lopez <> -- Spanish (3) & Basque

And the results are:

 Internet (information) superhighway
 ------------ -----------------------------
Basque internet (informazioaren) autobidea/autopista

Chinese (1) Wang3ji4 Wang3lu4
 (lit. "between-net network")
 (1) Guo2ji4 Dian4nao3 Hu4lian2 Wang3lu4
 ("international computer interlinked network")
 (1) Guo2ji4 Dian4nao3 Wang3lu4
 ("international computer network")
 (2) guo2ji4 wang3lu4
 (international net-road)
 (1a) Xin4xi2 Gao1su4gong1lu4
 (lit. "information highway")
 (1b) Zi1xun4 Gao1su4gong1lu4
 ("data and information highway")

Gaelic Irish Idirghre'asa'n
Gaelic Scottish Eadar-li`on 
no established word for "Superhighway"

Greek internet (more often) ethniki odhos pliroforion (rare)
 dhiadhiktio (less)

Hebrew internet You don't say "Information Superhighway"

Hungarian (1) internet informa'cio's szupersztra'da
 [intErnEt] [informa:tsio:S supErstra:dA]
(E=IPA epsilon, S=Engl. sh, A=IPA upsidedown ital. a, '=acute accent)

 (2) (sza'mi'to'ge'pes) vila'gha'lo'zat (informa'cio's) sztra'da
 ("worldnet (of computers)")

Japanese (1) inta:netto (jouhou) soopa:haiwei
 (2) inta:net:o

Spanish (1) Rio Plata internet superautopista de la informacion
 (2) Mexico/Argentina el internet
 la inter-red
 el ciberespacio (cyberspace)
 (3) Spain internet autopista (de la informacion)

The tendency seems to be to retain "internet" and to calque
"superhighway". Predictably, of course, there are exceptions in the
treatment of both. The situation in German follows the general
 _Internet_ _Informationsautobahn_.

Many many thanks to all who took the time to reply.

All the best,

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Waruno Mahdi tel: +49 30 8413 5408
Faradayweg 4-6 fax: +49 30 8413 3155
14195 Berlin email:
Germany WWW:
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