language map

peterarkadiev peterarkadiev at YANDEX.RU
Mon Aug 10 20:12:50 UTC 2009

Dear colleagues,

I've got a technical question concerning electronic language maps. Since I don't know a particular person whom I could ask, I have decided to address this question to the whole community. I beg your pardon for any possible inconvenience.

The problem is as follows:
I have a cross-linguistic sample of ca. 40 languages (this can be expanded in the future), which I'd like to have plotted on a map. I tried to use the WALS interactive reference tool to create such a map, but have found that 1) WALS does not contain all the languages I need (sic!) and 2) the map I created can show the names of the languages only when embedded into the WALS program.
Moreover, I may need to classify the languages according to the typological parameters I am now working on.

What mostly approaches my needs is a map of the type used in Christa König's book 'Case in Africa' (OUP, 2008), where the shape of the symbols showing the language locations can indicate relevant linguistic information, and which, besides, is accompanied by numbers and by a chart indicating which number corresponds to which language.

I'd like to ask whether there is any (free) software able to create maps of this kind and export them to such applications as MS Word or MS Powerpoint. 

Thanks a lot in advance for any suggestions!

Peter Arkadiev
Institute of Slavic Studies
Russian Academy of Sciences

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