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Towards faithfully visualizing global linguistic diversity


McNew, Garland; Derungs, Curdin; Moran, Steven (2018). Towards faithfully visualizing global linguistic diversity. In: Calzolari, Nicoletta. Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018). Paris, France: European Language Resources Association (ELRA), 805-809.

Abstract

The most popular strategy for visualizing worldwide linguistic diversity is to utilize point symbology by plotting linguistic features as colored dots or shapes on a Mercator map projection. This approach creates illusions due to the choice of cartographic projectioand also from statistical biases inherent in samples of language data and their encoding in typological databases. Here we describe these challenges and offer an approach towards faithfully visualizing linguistic diversity. Instead of Mercator, we propose an Eckert IV projection to serve as a map base layer. Instead of languages-as-points, we use Voronoi/Thiessen tessellations to model linguistic areas, including polygons for languages for which there is missing data in the sample under investigation. Lastly we discuss future work in the intersection of cartography and comparative linguistics, which must be addressed to further advance visualizations of worldwide
linguistic diversity.

Abstract

The most popular strategy for visualizing worldwide linguistic diversity is to utilize point symbology by plotting linguistic features as colored dots or shapes on a Mercator map projection. This approach creates illusions due to the choice of cartographic projectioand also from statistical biases inherent in samples of language data and their encoding in typological databases. Here we describe these challenges and offer an approach towards faithfully visualizing linguistic diversity. Instead of Mercator, we propose an Eckert IV projection to serve as a map base layer. Instead of languages-as-points, we use Voronoi/Thiessen tessellations to model linguistic areas, including polygons for languages for which there is missing data in the sample under investigation. Lastly we discuss future work in the intersection of cartography and comparative linguistics, which must be addressed to further advance visualizations of worldwide
linguistic diversity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:May 2018
Deposited On:18 Jan 2019 13:33
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:04
Publisher:European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
OA Status:Green

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Language: English
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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
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