Twitter is a linguist's dream come true: it compiles millions of messages in hundreds of languages daily, making the question "Who speaks what languages where?" easy to answer. That is the question taken up by self-described "map geek" Eric Fischer. He has created a map of the world's languages used on Twitter by pulling together data collected by Google Chrome. "What a joy these maps are to behold," writes Big Think's Frank Jacobs writes. "It’s as if someone took one of those composite satellite maps -- you know, impossibly showing the whole world at night, the darkness broken by hubs and strings of artificial light ... and gave it the power of speech."
The details of Fischer's world map, above, are difficult to see if you don't upload the full version on your web browser. So we we've decided to go region by region to make sense of some of the map.
Let's take a look.
North America: Nothing surprising here. Fischer made English gray, and so a dull glow pervades the continent. A sprinkling of Spanish-tweeting pockets, are shown in pink, in states like Texas and Arizona, and the pinkness deepens south of the border. The Caribbean islands show up as a colorful hodgepodge of gray, pink, and purple (French). And notice the vein of purple along the Saint Lawrence River in Canada, denoting the French-tweeting Quebecois.