Is it just me or are all language lovers also map lovers? Whether or not your linguaphilia is accompanied by an obsession with history, world cultures, or geography, I’m willing to make a bet that a good language map is up there on your list of nerdy pleasures. In addition to the upsidedown map from Vladstudio, here are 10 more of my personal favourites:
Is it cheating if I include hundreds of maps under one link? Ethnologue does an amazing job of tracking world languages, including sleeping languages, and has provided maps that show the linguistic diversity of most regions of the world. For example, here is the map for Afghanistan where over 40 languages are spoken.
2. World GeoData Sets
The Ethnologue data is impressive but the maps aren’t always the highest quality. Steve Huffman has taken the data from Ethnologue, classified the information into different language groups, and produced a series of maps that are informative and beautiful.
3. Human Language Families
Feeling overwhelmed by the thousands of languages spoken in the world? This map groups them all into major language families – although it’s still a little overwhelming!
4. Linguistic Diversity
This map by K. Zaniewski shows the linguistic diversity of each country. Note the giant dot on Papua New Guinea where over 850 languages are spoken!
5. American Englishes
The United States might not be as linguistically diverse as Papua New Guinea, but there sure are a lot of varieties of the same language spoken between its borders. Check out this map by Rick Aschmann that shows all of the different Englishes spoken in the U.S.
6. Indo-European Languages
While technically not a map, this is one of the most beautiful language-related visuals out there. Minna Sundberg has drawn a linguistic family tree for Indo-European and Uralic languages that takes the (language nerd’s) breath away.
7. Endangered Languages
Unfortunately, Minna Sundberg hasn’t drawn a tree for Indigenous languages (yet). But the Endangered Languages Project has created a wonderful, interactive map that allows you to explore the many diverse Indigenous languages spoken around the world, and information about them like how many speakers they have. Unfortunately, so many of these languages are severely endangered.
8. BC First Languages
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council has also created an interactive map that tracks the languages spoken in my home province of British Columbia. Did you know that BC is home to 60% of the Indigenous languages of what is now Canada?
9. The Endonym Map
An endonym is the name of a place in the language of the people that live there. This impressive endonym map labels each country as it is written in the most widely spoken language of the country.
10. Countries of the World Quiz
Alright my fellow map lovers, how many countries can you name (in English) in 12 minutes? Try this quiz to find out!