Geolinguistics: The incorporation of geographic information systems and science

Modern geographic information systems (GIS) and its incorporated spatial analysis tools allow sophisticated and efficient analysis of spatial data by researchers in many fields. Although the field of linguistics has long been of interest to geographers and spatial variation of language to linguists, researchers have made little use of the power of GIS and GIScience theory to address hypotheses regarding spatial variation of language and correlated physical and social variables Discussion of modern GIS tools for spatial analysis, quantitative analysis, and cartography in geolinguistics has been largely absent from the literature. Linguists have applied GIS technology in language atlases, including recent on-line atlases; however, analytic and data processing capabilities are seldom discussed. Following a review of geolinguistics work incorporating GIS, this article discusses potentially useful GIS tools and techniques for geolinguistics. The article concludes with reflection on the future role of GIS in geolinguistic thought and practice.