News in Brief: Twitter maps New York City, language by language

Thursday, March 21st 2013. | Science News

Non-English tweets cluster in neighborhoods

By Rachel Ehrenberg

Web edition: March 20, 2013

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A map of non-English tweets sent in New York shows distinct regions for certain languages: Spanish (blue), Dutch (light pink), Russian (fuchsia), Korean (green), Portuguese (red), Japanese (yellow), Danish (gray), German (light blue) and Indonesian (purple).

Credit: D. Mocanu et al

BALTIMORE — New York City’s oldest European settlers make their mark on a very modern data set. A map showing of non-English, GPS-tagged tweets coming from New York City and its surroundings reveals distinct second-language neighborhoods, Delia Mocanu of Northeastern University in Boston reported March 19 at the at the American Physical Society meeting.

These neighborhoods include the area around Marine Park in Brooklyn, which the Dutch settled by the 1600s; today, its second-most common language for tweeting — after English — is Dutch (light pink). Other iconic neighborhoods shine though, including the Russian community on and around Coney Island (fuchsia) and Korean communities (green) in Flushing and Palisades Park, N.J.

Mocanu found it harder to localize Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, because people tweet in Spanish (blue) all over the city. Several other second languages showed up in isolated spots: Portuguese (red), Japanese (yellow), Danish (gray), German (light blue) and Indonesian (purple).


D. Mocanu et al. Language geography from microblogging platforms. American Physical Society meeting, Baltimore, March 19, 2013. Abstract: [Go to]

D. Mocanu et al. The Twitter of Babel: Mapping World Languages through Microblogging Platforms. arXiv: 1212.5238. Posted December 20, 2012. [Go to]

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