Saturday, January 30, 2010

Multilingual Caribbean Map: Language and Place

This detail of a multilingual map (in the building where I work) shows two locations very much in the news: Cuba and Haiti. On the left, note "Guantánamo" (with diacritical mark over the A, since all of the Cuban place-names are rendered in Spanish). On the right, HAÏTI (with marks over the I, since all the Haitian place-names are in French). Curiously, the water "in between" these lands is marked neither in Spanish nor French. Instead, it gets an English name: "Windward Passage."

Not quite sure how to interpret the use of English for this particular body of water, but the map as a whole has an interesting way of visualizing the relationship between language and place.

For a larger view of the Caribbean Sea and (here designated in Spanish as "Mar Caribe"), click below.

For more on this map, see here and here.

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