Displaying the Geography of Language: the Cartography of Language Maps

| June 6, 2013

July 2013
Volume 7 Issue 1

| July 2013 home | PDF version |

Displaying the geography of language: the cartography of language maps

Candice R. Luebbering
Department of Geography
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA USA

Bioprofile: Candice Luebbering’s education spans the fields of anthropology, sociology and geography. She acquired her PhD in Geospatial and Environmental Analysis from Virginia Tech in 2011. She has taught or assisted courses in cartography, GIS, and human geography. Her general research interests include cartography, GIScience, geographic education, and medical geography.


Language maps are often used as educational tools to provide illustrations of linguistic and cultural diversity and distribution. Despite the prevalent use of language maps, very little recent research addresses the problematic task of their construction. Given current GIS capability and the potential to tackle previous visualization troubles, the fundamental issues of language mapping are reexamined as a starting point for improving the effectiveness of modern language maps. This review work addresses the difficulties of assigning language to space, describes current language mapping projects, and discusses the potential of current technology for improving language mapping.

Key Words: cartography, GIS, language map, linguistic map, map design

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Category: Volume 7 Issue 1 June 2013