I found this list hilariously informative – 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World.
Below is just an example of the maps (Map of Europe Showing Literal Chinese Translations for Country Names), which is probably one of the most intellectually challenging ones to understand – as an English and Chinese bilingual, I have to think hard to translate the names back to Chinese, sometimes in vein, to make sense. But still, it’s a refreshing perspective.
(Map of Europe Showing Literal Chinese Translations for Country Names)
These maps explained quite a lot of things, in such a visually easy way. I love maps. I could stare at maps/street directories/globe forever and let my imagination wonder, which sometimes leads to some disastrous results (hint hint something is coming up :)).
Nevertheless, to tie this list back to my blog, I would have loved to see one more map: countries where there are more multilinguals than monolinguals. When you think about it, there are many countries (including China, and a friend suggested Liechtenstein) where naturally people grow up with more than one language. And I would love to know how many.
Strictly speaking, my first language is not even Mandarin Chinese. It’s Fenghua dialect, which sounds distinctly different from Mandarin, and uses very often different ‘logic’ in structuring the sentences (I use the word ‘logic’ instead of ‘grammar’ on purpose because there is no written form of Fenghua dialect nor formal grammar). Mandarin Chinese is a language I learnt when I started school (at the age of six). Even then, some older teachers used the dialect to teach as their Mandarin is not far from a disaster.
In Australia there are approximately 240 languages spoken and 16% of the population speak a language other than English at home – that means among 6 friends of ours, there is at least one who speaks a non-English language at home! I’m sure in Sydney that percentage is much higher than that.
If there is the 41st map of countries where there are more multilinguals than monolinguals indicated by the colour of green, I wouldn’t be surprised if it will turn out to be a quite green world. Can anyone validate this?!