Traditional language atlases present a single view of language that of their makers (Girnth, 2010). This bias is especially evident in the production of language distribution maps. Appealing to structural and functional criteria in their assessments of language identification and relation, which are in turn precursors to describing linguistic geography, linguists bring one approach to the discussion. However, this position is not only measured arbitrarily, but is in practice also dependent on social factors. Cybercartography (Taylor, 1997, 2005, 2019; Taylor and Lauriault, 2014; Taylor and Pyne, 2010), as expressed through the Nunaliit Atlas Framework (GCRC, 2006–2019; Hayes et al., 2014, 2019), facilitates the simultaneous representation of diverse user perspectives within a single atlas. This study looks at the Nunaliit-driven Atlas of the Languages of Iran (ALI) (Anonby et al., 2015–2019) as a case study. In this atlas, user perspectives are foregrounded through development and application of a three-dimensional language relation web; production and comparison of user-defined language distribution maps with each other, and with linguistic structure maps; and contributions from individual users. This chapter demonstrates that incorporation of perspectives and content from all audiences is not only essential in achieving a grounded and balanced understanding of language distribution in any language atlas, but also possible.

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Modern Cartography Series
Department of French

Anonby, E, & Sabethemmatabadi, P. (Parisa). (2019). Representing complementary user perspectives in a language atlas. In Modern Cartography Series. doi:10.1016/B978-0-444-64193-9.00023-3