Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The "glottogram": a geolinguistic tool developed in Japan

Shinji Sanada


Glottogram is the term for a graph which crosses speakers’ ages with geographical factors. Glottograms were conceived and developed in the realm of Japanese geolinguistics. The first collection of multiple glottograms appeared in the 1980s. By the 1990s, there was a significant increase in the production of glottograms for various regions of Japan. Glottograms can show us the dynamics of language contact and language change, in great detail. Although in Germany generational differences in dialects have been presented in map form, in general the concept of a “location X age” graph does not exist in the West. In fact, in the West little value seems to be placed on Japanese glottograms. But it was out of dissatisfaction with the limitation of maps only being able to represent data on a plane,that glottograms were conceived of in the first place, and this led to their use as a supplementary tool to maps, and as a model for construction theories.

Text complet: PDF