What do borders look like? We know that they are lines on maps and checkpoints on roads and sometimes walls and fences. But can they be seen from the sky? In The Sword in the Stone, T.H. White tells the story of young Arthur and his mentor Merlin flying as birds across the countryside. Arthur comes to the realization that there are no borders at all, that they are social constructs, illusory excuses for warmongering.
Borders are indeed hard to see from on high, but what do they sound like? The Strange Maps blog is featuring a marvelous language map created by Eric Fischer with help from Mike McCandless. It’s based on the languages that people are using when they tweet and the result will make your eyes bulge. Here’s a big version, and here’s a HUGE version.
So many stories here: you can see the French and Dutch oceans splashing together in mid-Belgium. Portugal and Spain are more clearly differentiated than I would have expected, and what’s that country on the Mediterranean coast of Spain? Why that’s no country, that’s the Catalan-speaking region of Spain centered on Barcelona. Francophone Corsica, birthplace of Napoleon, is a stone’s throw from Italian Sardinia. The Greek and Turkish sides of Cyprus are obvious. And wowie-zowie, the division between North and South Korea is even more stark than the Earth at Night photo.
Cruise around that big old map. There’s hours of fun in there.