U.S. Language Map

Lots of blogs are circulating the good news about the Modern Language Association’s MLA Language Map, which “displays the locations and numbers of speakers of the thirty languages most commonly spoken in the United States.” Just the ticket for a multicultural marketer trying localize a product or service down to that single last customer who speaks Hungarian in North Dakota. Site usability for this resource leaves a lot to be desired, since large maps are inherently difficult to manage on small screens, and in any case it is designed as an educational tool. But it sets standards that other organizations might well apply to language-mapping other geographies in a visually appealing, regularly updated and accurate way. If you happen to notice the distinct lack of Amerindian languages on the MLA map, there’s a good resource site for this Sprachbund here (thanks to André Cramblit for the reference). BTW, if you’re in search of the latest traditional facts about ‘countries’ and their ‘languages’, the 2004 edition of the CIA World Fact Book has just gone live.

Andrew Joscelyne
European, a language technology industry watcher since Electric Word was first published, sometime journalist, consultant, market analyst and animateur of projects. Interested in technologies for augmenting human intellectual endeavour, multilingual méssage, the history of language machines, the future of translation, and the life of the digital mindset.


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