Language Maps, Language Clouds

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Intrigued by language diversity and awareness, our team is interested in analyzing what languages college students are aware of and how they define them. Our goal is not only to introduce abstract linguistic and anthropological concepts, but also to think of language as something that always surrounds us, immersive, patterned and understandable. We seek to describe language awareness by distinguishing between proficiency and familiarity, and inviting respondents to use “ordinary language” in the form of everyday speech or informal writing. Beginning with the invitation to “list all the languages that you know,” we seek to learn the different levels of knowing that can encompass reading, writing, understanding, speaking or identifying.

Our 2017 questionnaire under the page “Give Data” is a revised version of our original questionnaire that began as index card free lists/pile sorts in 2015-2016. In 2016, we offered a new section called “Get Data” for anyone who wishes to make use of free raw data consisting of short textual descriptors for languages identified by participants. Now on our third year and third cohort of interns, we are developing a new section on language and the US Census that will be launched in Fall 2018. Even though our original sample was and is college students, we encourage any and all contributions to our research. This site is developed with a Creative Commons license which allows free use of our data and content but with an expectation of acknowledgement of the source.