Language on the NYC Subway
Michelle Johnson, Linguistics
Faculty Advisor: Gita Martohardjono
The New York City public transit system is the largest in North America, serving 15.1 million people a year, and New York City, itself, is the most linguistically diverse place in the world. ‘Language on the NYC Subway’ will visually illustrate the intersection of these two aspects of the city and paint a picture of how linguistic groups are situated with respect to each other.
Using census data and the MTA’s subway map, I am using dreamweaver to create a website that will predominately consist of a large image with hotspots at each station. Hovering over these hotspots will show the language demographics at that station. Clicking on the hotspot will send the user to another page that shows the language concentrations at each stop along that subway line. Illustrating the information in this way is intended to give users the ability to focus on the lines they are the most interested in to see who is riding the subway to and from where. I chose to use the subway map rather than a to-scale map because more than half of all New York City residents use the subway as their primary form of transportation, and therefore where the subway goes determines where they regularly go. Of course, the subway map is not an accurate representation of the physical space of the city, but a to-scale map is not an accurate representation of access, transportation or movement. It is these factors of geography that I would like to set against the linguistic landscape in order to allow users to set the languages of New York City against the experience of traveling through it and consequentially, them.