The Electro-Map Menagerie → Lingua America


Are you curious what languages we speak among our friends and loved one in the US of A? Well, skip on over to the Modern Language Association’s Language Map project to find out. (And yes, it is the very same MLA who publish the Style Manual) Here is the map itself, but if you’re curious about their methodology or the purpose of the map then check out their home page.

The data is culled from 2000 US census data, but it is the accessibility of the graphic itself, and the organization of the information that makes this site such a treasure. I’m sad but not surprised to discover that Hungarian is the least used language in the US, and of course Spanish is number two by a long shot. But Chinese is third? Tagalog sixth? And finally, one of my favorite features is the ability to compare language distributions using a simple side-by-side graphic display. To me, the delight of this site is just how readable dry, statistical data can be with a little imagination. I’m all the more curious now about the MLA International Bibliography on “modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics.”

Tomorrow, the Electro-Map visits seismic hotspots before crossing the “t”s and dotting the “i”s on the project.


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