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Proportional pie chart of the world's most spoken languages
Thread poster: Alexandre Chetrite

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 23:51
English to French
Jun 15, 2015

Hi,

I just wanted to share with you this amazing graphic.

I got the link from twistedsifter.com on my Facebook account initially (I am registered for daily updates of this wonderful website).

Enjoy!

http://twistedsifter.com/2015/06/proportional-pie-chart-of-the-most-spoken-languages

I'm planning on printing this graphic to display it in my room, but which printing format should I consider?

Should I use a professionnal printer or can I use a home/personal printer to print it in large scale format?

A4 won't do I believe (too small to see the charcaters at the bottom of the document).

Regards,


[Edited at 2015-06-15 16:31 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:51
Member (2008)
Italian to English
:) Jun 15, 2015

Fascinating- thanks ! But I don't see any of the Scandinavian languages....Irish.....Welsh....Gaelic....and so many others....Polish...Romanian.....so it's all a bit frustrating.

[Edited at 2015-06-15 16:43 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:51
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Proportional pie chart of the world's most spoken languages Jun 15, 2015

Is Lahnda Punjabi?

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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:51
English to German
+ ...
Not correct Jun 15, 2015

Alexandre Chetrite wrote:

Hi,

I just wanted to share with you this amazing graphic.

I got the link from twistedsifter.com on my Facebook account initially (I am registered for daily updates of this wonderful website).

Enjoy!

http://twistedsifter.com/2015/06/proportional-pie-chart-of-the-most-spoken-languages

I'm planning on printing this graphic to display it in my room, but which printing format should I consider?

Should I use a professionnal printer or can I use a home/personal printer to print it in large scale format?

A4 won't do I believe (too small to see the charcaters at the bottom of the document).

Regards,


[Edited at 2015-06-15 16:31 GMT]


Sorry, but these numbers aren't right. Just look at English and German. Check the countries out on Wikipedia if you will and check their population and languages.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:51
Member (2008)
Italian to English
A3 Jun 15, 2015

Alexandre Chetrite wrote:


A4 won't do I believe (too small to see the charcaters at the bottom of the document).

Regards


I think A3 is as big as you can go (that's the original size of the document - so anything bigger will just be blurred).


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Natalie Soper  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:51
French to English
+ ...
Cool chart Jun 15, 2015

As for the printing, if you save it on a memory stick and take it to a printer shop, they could advise you on how big it can be printed without distorting it. I think Tom is right; it wouldn't go bigger than A3.

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ipv

Local time: 23:51
Member (2015)
English to Croatian
+ ...
I'm with Mr. Haus Klaus Jun 15, 2015

"So you say 0,5 mio people from Poland speak German, OK than tell me what language speak people from Austria".

??!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:51
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A mere 20 million Scandinavians altogether... Jun 15, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

Fascinating- thanks ! But I don't see any of the Scandinavian languages....Irish.....Welsh....Gaelic....and so many others....Polish...Romanian.....so it's all a bit frustrating.

[Edited at 2015-06-15 16:43 GMT]


Although they may make their presence felt, there are in fact 'only' slightly more than 20 million speakers altogether of Swedish (9 700 000), Danish (5 640 000) and Norwegian (5 076 000). Then there is no mention of languages such as Faroese (50, 241), which is related but NOT the same as the first three, or Icelandic, ditto, or Greenlandic - a completely different language (population 56 900). Not forgetting the Sami ... and whoever else I have left out.

Even if you group languages in families, the 7 000 languages would look very confusing on a pie chart.

Nevertheless, it would give a fairer idea if there was a blank section representing all the languages that are not spoken widely enough to be shown separately. You would see a good proportion of the world's population there.

However, it is easy to criticise.
It's an interesting pie chart

Added after a further look: OK, there IS a small circle at the top right acknowledging the world population as a whole around the languages shown in the main chart.

[Edited at 2015-06-16 11:35 GMT]


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:51
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Ouch Jun 15, 2015

Alexandre Chetrite wrote:
I just wanted to share with you this amazing graphic.

Thanks for sharing, but the graphic itself is an outstanding example of flashy form over substance. It's very hard to pull anything out of that other than that Chinese is spoken by a lot of people.

Pie charts usually a poor way to convey complex information. Basically the human eye is not good at ranking areas and angles and is better at ranking the length of things. Whatever a pie chart can do, a bar chart or even a table can do better.

But even if they convey the relative size of the things they try to show better than pie charts, bar charts don't have the "wow" factor. And newspapers won't pay good money to data visualisation experts like Mr. Lucas Lopéz if there isn't a wow factor.

Regards
Dan

PS And yes, since Tom mentioned it, where is Welsh?! You'd think one of the oldest languages in Europe would get some love!


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:51
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
If you look at the top-left corner... Jun 15, 2015

...the chart only considers languages with more than 50,000,000 speakers.

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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:21
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Incorrect figures Jun 16, 2015

Just to take three examples, the figures for Hindi, English and Spanish don't seem correct. Even if we consider Hindi-speakers in India only, the figure is likely to be more in the range of 400-500 million than the given figure of 260 million; and Hindi is spoken in a lot of other places in addition to India, such as in Nepal, the Gulf countries, US, UK, Canada, Trinidad, Mauritius, Guyana and many other countries where Indians have migrated.

As for English, the figure of 335 seems too low. For one, it does not include India, where it is estimated that about 2-3% Indians speak English at native level, which it self would add 25 million English speakers. There would be additional English speakers in places like Hong Kong, for example.

The figures for Spanish look inflated; as it includes US among Spanish-speaking nations with 39 million speakers. By that logic, India with 25 million English speakers should be counted among the English speaking nations.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:21
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Seems so Jun 16, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

Is Lahnda Punjabi?


Why Punjabi has not been used for this language is puzzling; most probably this is due to some undercover political agenda to which this graphic has inadvertently succumbed.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:21
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Portuguese in India? Jun 16, 2015

A closer look reveals even more howlers. In Portuguese, it shows that 0.3 million Indians speak Portuguese (and 0 million Indians speak English!). The truth is, Portuguese is no longer spoken in India since 1960 at least.

Also it is a moot point whether Brazilian Portuguese and its European version spoken in Portugal can even be considered to be the same language.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:21
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
More flaws! Jun 16, 2015

The chief feature of a pie chart is that chunks of it are visually proportional to the data they represent. Even in this basic matter, the graph is all awry. For example the area of Hindi with 260 million speakers is much smaller than the area of Arabic with just 242 million speakers; the area of Urdu with 64 million speakers looks distinctly smaller than the area of Italian with about the same number of speakers (63.8).

So the graph is beset with multiple issues. Perhaps pie chart is not the right choice for representing such a complex subject as linguistic diversity of the world, even if we keep politics and mathematics out of the picture.


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Peter Simon  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:51
Member (2013)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
A few remarks about this fascinating piece Jun 16, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

This is a very complex piece of work and can't come without some flaws from here and there. Just consider migrants around the world, a lot of them from English-speaking countries having practically settled down (for a decade or more), like, in China, for example, where millions of foreigners reside. They are native English, but can never become Chinese citizens without losing their original citizenship (China doesn't accept double nationalities). Same with millions more of Chinese, or Arabic speakers around Europe who have acquired the local citizenship but are still Chinese or Arabic as to their mother tongue. Who can count those people, and how are they included in a chart which tries to signal hundreds of thousands of people of the major languages outside of the main country? Guesswork. They can't be included if they number less then that. Also, how is it considered for people who still have ties to their country of origin, but do not intend to repatriate? But the clue is in the top left corner: consider the difference of more than two billion between the speakers of these 'major' languages and world population at the time of making the chart. That also includes speakers of all languages living outside their native countries.

About speakers of Austria. They are included in the German section but aren't named, which is a flaw, but there is a section in the bottom right corner of the German section with a + in it. Strange that 0.5 M Germans in Poland are named but the 8 M living in Austria aren't ... well, sorry, they've forgotten about the naming. On the other hand, there are obviously millions of speakers in Germany with a mother tongue other than German, that is the reason of the relatively low number of German natives compared to the population of Germany.

About the number of Hindi speakers. Mr. Balasubramaniam is mostly right with his remarks, but probably not so concerning Hindi speakers. One thing is, when Indians reside in countries he mentions, you have no way of telling whether those Indians are Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, or any other speakers. Perhaps the statisticians had. And they have included a + section in the top right corner of the Hindi section indicating Hindi speakers outside of India. Also, think about a tendency to migrate from the coast rather than from the Dekkan, or the Ganges valley, from deep rural areas.

Other than that, speakers of the other 5 major languages of India give 343 M people on the chart. Add the Hindi speakers and you have more than half of the population of India at the time of making the chart. However, there are another 448 other languages spoken in India besides those 'major' ones (see bottom right chart), and the number of dozens of them count in the tens of millions. That makes up the half billion other speakers of India, not another 2- or 300 million Hindi. As you pointed out earlier, Hindi is the most important language in India, as it is the major official language. But this doesn't make its speakers mother-tongue speakers, which this chart strives to be about.

Dan Lucas, you're right about pie charts being a poor way of showing statistics, in general. However, the population of the world is situated horizontally on the earth's surface, in roughly 2 dimensions, and that's what this chart can reflect very well. The big flow could be the same as with maps: it's impossible to show in 2 dimensions which lies in fact on the surface of a geoid. But while territories of countries on a map are NEVER proportional to their real dimensions in whatever projection the map is made, this one only has the problem that the eye finds it difficult to compare an irregular triangle with an even more irregular deltoid where at least one side is a semi-circle. I, for one, don't find any problem with accepting this and believe that if they were able to collate the data necessary for making this chart, then they were also able to do it with a programme that calculated the surfaces well enough.

[Edited at 2015-06-16 10:00 GMT]


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