On Monday we created a map illustrating the geography of virtual references to the words "football" and "soccer". In today's post, we've added eight more languages into the mix: German, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Chinese. The map below visualizes which of these various ways of referring to "football" are most visible at any particular location in the Google Maps database.What struck us most was how the map reproduces expected patterns (based on language groups) with very few exceptions: most points in Korea reference the Korean word for football more than the same word in any other language. The same thing is true in Japan, Thailand, Brazil/Portugal and every other country associated with the languages that we conducted this batch of searches in.
Ultimately, Australia wins the prize for having the most homogeneous footballing cyberscape. There is only one place in the country with a reference to football in a language other than English: A reference to Fussball (German) somewhere around the vicinity of Alpine National Park in Victoria. Perhaps there is some sort of odd colony of football playing Germans (is there any other kind?) in this National Park (would any Aussie readers mind checking up on this for us?).
Sweden and Poland are interesting cases: a diverse mix of references to the sport in English (both "football" and "soccer"), German and Spanish, with a small smattering of Dutch and Portuguese. Of course, if we had searched in Swedish or Polish the results would likely have been otherwise.
English appears to be the dominant language for references to the sport in most parts of the world with no direct connection to one of the languages in which we conducted the search (e.g. in Iran, Finland and Russia). We should also point out the the French word for football is "football," so it is difficult to distinguish between references made in English and French using this keyword.
This map is about more than just a sport. We are interested in using this method to study and map cyberscapes in a range of languages. This map was just a first step to test some of the boundaries of the method. We will eventually be mapping a range of other terms in a lot more languages in the near future. Suggestions are welcome.
p.s. This may be a dagger in the heart of many calcio loving Italians, but despite having won the World Cup four times we simply forgot to do a search in your language. Ci scusiamo. We don't know what we were thinking.