Native Languages of the World

Today’s post looks at an infographic from the South China Morning Post. The graphic in question looks at languages and how many speak them. Specifically, the graphic narrows the focus down to those native languages spoken by 50+ million people, of which there are 23 spoken by a combined 4.1 billion people out of the world’s 7.2 billion inhabitants.

Native language speakers
Native language speakers

Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Lucas López.

Looking at Languages

Languages can be fascinating things. And not necessarily just in Klingon. Vox has a post using 23 maps and graphics to look at language. As usual with these sorts of things, some are good. Others not so much.

Old World languages
Old World languages

Credit for the highlighted piece goes to Minna Sundberg via Dylan Matthews.

Twitter Language

An MIT report looks at, among other things, the words used in tweets based on whether they were tweeted at home or at work. And, well, Malcolm Tucker would be surely disappointed. Because somebody screwed up and switched the words home and work. Clearly they should be reversed.

A rose by any other name is still a f**king rose for f**k's sake, you t**t.
A rose by any other name is still a f**king rose for f**k’s sake, you t**t.

Credit for the piece goes to the report’s authors Morgan R. Frank, Jake Ryland Williams, Lewis Mitchell, James P. Bagrow, Peter Sheridan Dodds, and Christopher M. Danforth.

Linguistics Are…Um…Fun?

So today is Friday and that means it is time for some…um…lighter than usual content. Consequently we have a map from Quartz looking at the preferred use of um or uh.

Mapping the preference for Um or Uh
Mapping the preference for Um or Uh

Credit for the piece goes to the Quartz graphics department.


Happy Friday, everybody. I cannot say about you, but I certainly love seeing dialects and regional variations of words, phrases, pronunciations mapped out. So thankfully we have some work by Alan McConchie to look at today, specifically versus the soda vs. pop debate. As the screenshot shows, I come from a solidly soda camp. But I was reminded recently at a wedding that the Midwest is, generally speaking, pop country. Midwesterners have to learn to straighten that out.

It's soda in Chester County
It’s soda in Chester County

Credit for the piece goes to Alan McConchie.

The Curse(s) of the CEOs

It’s Friday, so we should try to take things a bit lighter. For me that usually means knocking back a drink or two and a swear-y exultation about it being the end of the work week. But, it turns out, I’m just trying to emulate our captains of industry. Bloomberg has gone through company conference calls and tabulated the number of swear words used and charted the results. And for fun, you can read some of the excerpts.

They'll swear by it
They’ll swear by it

Credit for the piece goes to David Ingold, Keith Collins, and Jeff Green.

Linguistic Empires

One of the main arguments used by Vladimir Putin to support any possible intervention in Ukraine is the suppression of the rights of Russian language speakers. The Economist wisely decided to wholeheartedly endorse the underlying principle of Putin’s logic and redrew the world map accordingly. You should read the article.

Linguistic empires of the world
Linguistic empires of the world

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.

The Origin of Beer

Today’s post comes via Business Insider. They linked to work by reddit user sp07 who mapped out words used for common objects across Europe and then looked at those words by their origin. But of all words, this is probably the most important.

The linguistic origin of beer
The linguistic origin of beer

Credit for the piece goes to sp07.

My/Your Dialect

Joshua Katz from North Carolina State University has created an interactive version of the dialect survey maps first perhaps popularised several years ago. Katz has also created an interactive map that looks at a city’s dialect and maps its areas of similarity and difference. An interesting extension of the original survey data, however, is the ability to take the survey yourself and see where your dialect fits. There are two versions, a 25-question survey and a 140-question survey.

The screenshot below is my result from the 25-question version. And it fits me fairly well since I spent most of my years in the suburbs of Philadelphia but every summer in South Jersey (and quite a bit of time in Allentown). Click the map to take the quiz for yourself. Feel free to reply and share your results.

Clearly I am Philadelphia raised
Clearly I am Philadelphia raised

From the technical side, for those wondering, this is a piece that is done in Shiny, the interactive version of R.

Credit for the piece goes to Joshua Katz.