Language Maps, Then and Now

(via Utne Reader)

The Proposed United States of Greater Austria 

utne

By the middle of the 19th century, Europeans were beginning to identify more with their own nationality and language than with their imperial governments… and a lot of this had to do with language. The maps themselves are pretty telling. The boundary between, say, Russia and Austria is a single red line, thin and elegant. But large colored sections with labels like Ukrainian and White Russian straddle the borders, and form large, amorphous blobs across much of Eastern Europe. Because people are less predictable than countries—or at least less tidy—there seems to be little rhyme or reason… From this information, it’s clear in hindsight that big changes were in store for Europe.

Twitter Languages Across Europe

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Today, borders are a lot less important. Innovations like the Schengen Area have made a ghost of centuries of European warfare, and trade pacts around the world further delegitimize official boundaries. A lot of this change is based on communication. By the numbers, Facebook is the third largest country on earth, and Verizon is (economically) bigger than Peru. Aside from their sheer size, it’s also clear that social media networks, like European languages, are making political boundaries even less significant.

Images via Utne Reader and Big Think

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  1. amateurlanguager reblogged this from futurejournalismproject
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  3. thesocialmedianerd reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    Facebook is the third largest country on Earth?! Mind blown.
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