Network Theory and a Map of the Most Influential Languages

screen shot 2014-12-16 at 11.58.28 am

The image above (press “ctrl” and “+” to zoom in) shows a network based on an MIT Study of the impact of languages. This image in particular shows how often a book is translated to and from a certain language into another. The size of the nodes and their arrows depend on the number of translations, while the color coding serves to indicate linguistic families. To play around with the network (by focusing on a language, measuring power by GDP per capita, number of speakers, etc.) click here.

Notice how Chinese has nearly a billion speakers and yet, in this map, it is not much more influential than Dutch with it’s less than 30 million speakers.

Below is a short video which explores the network theory behind the visualizations.


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