previous topic | Start screen | next topic

Inspecting the aggregate distances

The aggregate linguistic distance between two places is the average of all the item distances computed with the string edit distance (see previous topic). Under Differences - statistics and difference maps you can download the aggregate distances as a table. In this table you can look up the linguistic distance between any two sites (exactly like you would look up the distance in kilometers between two places in the distance chart in a road map!).

The aggregate distances are displayed in a number of mappings.

Difference maps

When you click on statistics and difference maps in the project view you will see some statistics of the aggregate linguistic distances and two maps. The maps are created by drawing lines between sites indicating how similar or different two sites are linguistically. The darker the color of the line on the map, the more similar are the sites linguistically.

In the first map, only neighboring sites are connected by lines. In the second map, lines are drawn across a larger geographic area.

Exercise Compare the two difference maps. In which areas are there large dialect differences? In which areas are the dialects very similar to each other? Are there abrupt dialect borders?

Reference point maps

Another way of visualizing linguistic distances are the reference point maps. These maps, made popular in Goebl and Haimerl's Visual Dialectometry (VDM), show the linguistic distances from one chosen site to all other sites in the data set.

Go to Differences - reference point maps. Choose a place in the drop down list and click Show map. The chosen reference site is displayed by a star. All other sites are colored so that the sites that are linguistically most similar to the reference site are the darkest. The lighter the color the more different the dialect.

Exercise Compare the reference point maps of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. What do these maps tell about the dialects?


previous topic | Start screen | next topic