Expanding the Understanding of Language Mapping

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Stone, Adam William




Language mapping is a cluster of practices surrounding the spatial representation of linguistic information, which has a variety of traditions, associated perspectives, and purposes. As maps are inherently political acts that contain their creators' subjectivities and biases, the way they are made can determine how users view a geographic region and the people within it, which is particularly relevant given that language maps are first and foremost maps of people (Thun, 2010, p.507). While language maps are becoming increasingly widespread in our societies, a marked lack of consensus remains on what language mapping is, who does it, and how it is done. Furthermore, Luebbering, Kolivras, and Prisley (2013, p.383) identify a general lack of guidelines and related infrastructure that enable those involved in the mapping process to reflect on language mapping practices, which is becoming all the more important at a time when technologies have increased the spheres language maps are present in. To address these issues while accounting for emerging language mapping practices and technologies, this dissertation contains two main parts, followed by a section identifying potential future directions for research of this kind. Part 1 is an extended literature review that develops a unified definition of language mapping and its practices by exploring what maps and human language are, and how language and physical space interact with one another. Part 2 is a collection of three studies which propose and demonstrate the use of specific tools for fostering reflection within language mapping, followed by an essay that identifies a particular framework relevant to language mapping—cybercartography—as being of use to Indigenous Language Education. Together, these parts define what language mapping is, offer the means to study its practices more systematically, and identify some future directions in research of this kind, with the intention of advancing language mapping as a cohesive, reflective, and conscientious collection of practices.


Physical Geography




Carleton University


supervisor; co-author: 
Erik J. Anonby

Thesis Degree Name: 

Doctor of Philosophy: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies

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Theses and Dissertations

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