Sunday, November 07, 2010

Chinglish and ... Google Earth

As part of my ongoing PhD project I am currently working with GeoTwain, a small web application developed at Heidelberg University to create so-called kml files (which you open with Google Earth) from semicolon delimited tables. It supports geo-encoding, i.e. finding coordinates of place names, by searching different databases and applies time and other information to the placemarks.

I am currently testing the software for my needs and came up with a first kmz file (kml plus graphics) with Chinglish signs taken in China. The data source is my second volume of bilingual pictures: "More Chinglish - Speaking in Tongues", published in 2009 by Gibbs Smith.

I am a kml newbie, so I was particularly delighted to learn that you are able to upload your own visualization of a Chinglish spot. Here is the first trial:



In total there are 100 pictures at 42 locations with - no surprise - Beijing and Shanghai as the main spots. The graphic differs in size according to the number of spotted signs. Notice how the density of signs decreases once you start moving away from the coastal areas. Whether or not this is coincidental needs further research, but it fuels the hypothesis that Chinglish is existent where sign makers have an international non-Chinese speaking audience in mind, i.e. metropolitan areas and touristic sights.

Have a look yourself: "More Chinglish: Speaking in Tongues" in Google Earth (needs Google Earth installed)

Comments are very much appreciated.

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