Map of the languages of the World

Posted by newflanders on 18 November 2017 in English (English)

Hi everyone ! I've tried to make a map showing where the main languages are spoken. Maybe that can help and inspire people. It must be completed and modificated as long as countries change and new ideas come. Hope you like it. Cheers ! Map of languanges

Comment from eklas on 18 November 2017 at 09:36

Interesting idea that needs a lot of work. Many countries are left out, many countries show questionable information. I also don't understand why some language groups are divided into such specific categories (e.g. Germanic into English, German, Dutch and Scandinavian), while all Asian languages are represented by yellow.

It would make more sense to me if the groups were represented by colors (e.g. Slavic - purple, Roman - pink, Germanic - red) and then the categories by shades of these colors (German - firebrick, English - maroon, Dutch - coral etc.)

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Comment from Luciano on 18 November 2017 at 10:13

I dislike this for multiple reasons.

  • It's linguistically naive, as eklas observes, vis-a-vis language groups/families.

  • It leaves out ALL the world's conlangs. Why? Was this done intentionally? If so, it seems unfair to those mappers who have put so much creative effort into making unique and interesting languages for their countries.

  • What about minority languages in various regions? And how can that be represented?

  • The size of the circles is misleading. One could get the impression that the largest group of language speakers were in Nordurland. I doubt that's true or even plausible - circle size should correlate somehow with language-speaking population, not just with territory sizes or simply, apparently, random.

  • It's brand new yet it's already out-of-date: e.g. Forrintie no longer exists. This will be a recurring problem.

In summary, I appreciate the interest and effort, but we have a very long road ahead if we want something useful, accurate and that doesn't end up misrepresenting our world.

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Comment from LemonKing on 18 November 2017 at 10:52

I respect all efforts to make overviews of different kinds. I'm especially glad to see the aspect of languages highlighted. Sadly, I have to agree with Luciano's conclusion.

However, if we are conscious of the limitations, this may be a useful tool. Perhaps it can help users applying the same language group find each other so they can cooperate with mapping and write a common linguistic history for their countries.

My "Bloregian" doesn't fit into the groups, and there are many other languages like that. We'd have to figure out a way to represent all languages. More categories are needed, perhaps e.g. "isolates" and "other" would be useful.

The fact that the page will never be up-to-date because of constant changes is not spesific to this map but a problem for the wiki as a whole. I think any summarizing wiki page created needs dedicated updaters in order to be useful. We can not count on all new users finding all pages and updating their own features to all of them, even less to erase the information if leaving OGF.

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Comment from Sarepava on 18 November 2017 at 12:02

Great of you to put the time and effort into this, but I agree it's not as helpful as it might be. It would certainly be useful to see the geographic and numerical dominance of certain languages, however the depiction and methodology need to be more carefully planned.

Arbitrating on what is a 'main language' is a very subjective business. Hebrew, Italian and Greek get almost equal status to Spanish, French or German despite being spoken in only 1-2 countries and having many millions fewer speakers, because of their cultural importance. Mandarin is a major world language by numbers but is barely spoken outside (not even all) of China. We don't even have a complete cultural history for the OGF world yet, so it's harder to simply have an intuitive instinct of 'how things are' beyond 'Inglish is like English, because colonialism'. There is no equivalent to the former political importance of Russian, for example.

The circle size is definitely misleading. Better surely to colour in the outline of each country, with insets for micronations. This leads me to another issue - not a few countries have more than one official language that would require the country colours to be hatched. For my country, Karolia would need to be half pink for Romans and half a yet-unspecified colour for the Uralic language of Karolian. The Ardisphere, meanwhile, would almost create a new flag to depict all its official languages. Many former colonies have Inglish or Castilian as the official language but the majority speak any number of aboriginal languages; how would this be shown?

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Comment from Luciano on 18 November 2017 at 12:21

Languages rarely respect borders. People don't realize that. Very few national boundaries are clearly discernable on a truly accurate language map.

My dream would a language map for OGF in the vein of a map like this: link to image:

But most people don't understand human language diversity well enough to even think about it clearly, much less map it with any degree of accuracy.

Look at this interesting map of Aboriginal Australian Language (a country that we all like to think of as simply "English Speaking"): link to image:

The above is not even counting the remarkable diversity of immigrant communities - there are Chinese, Koreans, Greeks, South Africans (Afrikaans), etc.

Here is a revealing map of China: link to image:

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Comment from newflanders on 18 November 2017 at 13:15

Hi guys, Thanks for those constructive comments. Well, fisrt, as I said only "main languages" (the most spreaded out) are shown so far. You guys are free to add more of course. By the way, I really admire those who had invent and create a whole new language for their country. It definetely matches better with the idea of a whole new world.

Regarding the size od the spots, they more or less cover the shape of the different countries without matching with the borders and give a funny "popart" touch to the map ah ah ah ! Also one country can have more than one spot and this last one can be placed where the regional language is spoken.

About the colours, I really like your Idea Eklas, showing languages by shades of colour according the group they belong to. If only I could have had this idea before ;)

Of course it would be great to have a map like Luciano give as example, but as you guys know (and say) it would be hard to update then. This said, maybe we should consider that a country still exist as long as it has not been totally erased... but well, this is another debate ;)

Cheers !

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Comment from Black Baron on 18 November 2017 at 20:23

Although incomplete, I think it is a good idea. Creating links between countries and cultures and bring information to all of us might give us new ideas and bring some new projects to life.

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 18 November 2017 at 23:03

I've some sympathy with you wanting to make this but unfortunately, at this time in OGF, I think its a bad idea.

There are many reasons not to try and get all the 'main languages' on one map, as explained above, but I think the main one is that OGF is in a state of constant flux and that your effort is likely both to be wasted and to waste other people's time. Either way, if you do use colour codes for different language groups, use the ones on the OGF:Language families page, which are standardised with individual language templates.

I don't recommend trying to do that, but what I suggest you could do is to add a map along these lines to wiki pages on a single language, for example on the page on Ingerish.

However, I think that putting effort into the wiki of outside of your own country's page is generally pointless. The only exceptions to this might be to develop international collaboration, for example on the international business page. Developing other similar pages to this could help consistency between countries and build realistic connections between countries.

Incidentally, having an 'Ingerish' Empire seems rather incredible, since the Ingerland of OGF seems to have few of the advantages the real England had. This world is very different, especially spatially.

I'd advise you to focus on mapping in your own country. Feasibly, as Luciano illustrates, you could have this number of languages one country reflected in place names, features, etc. Conlanging solves the problem of tying these in with other countries in ways which are scarcely believable and, in fact you don't need to develop a whole language to do this in a convincing way. For one language you probably need some standard rules and around 200 main words, which you can re-use and add to over time.

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Comment from zhenkang on 18 November 2017 at 23:47

I liked the map and effort, but like everyone said it is not really recommended. I can see it is like a rough sketch, but this map has limitations like it cannot show all the data. The large circles also can lead into misinterpretation that there are more people speaking the language in that area when there could be fewer people speaking it than a smaller circle elsewhere. Like Udi said, you can do individual maps for each language group, but please continue mapping first. There could also be the case of some languages and countries speaking the language (but did not add) missing, so lots and lots and lots of clooaboration is needed. (Pardon my speling)

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Comment from Kazuya on 19 November 2017 at 03:14

I like the map, and I would like to tell you that my country, Freedonia, speaks Ingerish and Japanese.

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Comment from zhenkang on 19 November 2017 at 07:01

Just to add, some people in Singkangia speaks Melayish (RW Malay), but there is also Kanglapolish (own conlang), Ingerish and Babelic (RW Chinese with some twist in pronunciation). If you can imagine putting different coloured circles in my country which is the size of Johor, I can't imagine what it will look like.

Hopefully there will be a new version like Luciano's suggested one.

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