Maps are "two-dimensional graphic models of (parts of) the Earth’s surface - or of geospatial phenomena related to that surface - produced to scale for decision-making purposes" (Ormeling 2010: 22). Linguistic and language-related maps are thematic maps, i.e., the distribution and/or frequency of linguistic features is mapped against the background of a base map derived from a topographic map. In accordance with the base map, a linguistic map has a scale and follows a map projection. The linguistic data are represented by graphic symbols whose arbitrariness requires a legend. The choice of the most suitable mapping technique depends on the available data and the objective of the map. Whereas the main objective in linguistic cartography is the identification of areas, requiring the drawing of area maps, for some purposes point or line maps, or the combination of elements from different map types, may be more adequate. Linguistic maps occurred first in the 18th century. Most of today's commonly used mapping techniques have been developed at the end of the 19th century, which gave rise to trend-setting national linguistic atlases. The paper presents a classification of today's linguistic maps.
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