Visualising London’s Twitter languages

London is a very diverse city, as showcased during this year’s Olympic Games.

Just how diverse is shown by a visualisation of language communities, as revealed by Twitter. There are limitations to this as it is a selective sample, but is interesting nonetheless. The top five languages represented (other than English) are Spanish, French, Turkish, Arabic and Portuguese. I wonder how this would look in New York City or other large cities?

English tweets (grey) dominate (unsurprisingly) and they provide crisp outlines to roads and train lines as people tweet on the move. Towards the north, more Turkish tweets (blue) appear, Arabic tweets (green) are most common around Edgware Road and there are pockets of Russian tweets (pink) in parts of central London. The geography of the French tweets (red) is perhaps most surprising as they appear to exist in high density pockets around the centre and don’t stand out in South Kensington (an area with the Institut Francais, a French High School and the French Embassy). It may be that as a proportion of tweeters in this area they are small so they don’t stand out, or it could be that there are prolific tweeters (or bots) in the highly concentrated areas. I really like the paint-speckled effect that the multilingual tweets of London have produced and it offers a further confirmation of the international nature of London’s population. (Source: Spatial Analysis)

Want to become as linguistically diverse as London? Try Chinese lessons in Washington for a start.