Data Visualization

La Lettura – Corriere della Sera


Client: La Lettura – Corriere della Sera

In April 2020 we started a cooperation with Corriere della Sera’s weekend cultural insert, La Lettura.

Corriere della Sera is the largest and most sold Italian newspaper. Its weekend insert is broadly considered one of the best and most-read weekend editions, and for around 10 years it has displayed every week a different data visualization works by some of the most important information designers in Italy.

This series has been sparked by our proposal about a bunch of visualizations regarding Linguistics, its concepts, and theories. The original idea, researches, and design are entirely from Dataspoiler’s founder Marco Giannini.

Toponomastica Italiana”, (Italian Toponymy), number 438, 18th of April, 2020

The toponyms are grouped together according to three historical phases (Pre-Latin, Latin, and Medieval Italy) in which they would have originated, and reported on the current council boundaries which still retain their trace in form of the termination of the name (suffix) or internal part (infix). The total figure for each category is displayed at the end of the arrows.

Original names of the most important settlements are fully shown in the respective form transmitted (and in brackets in the current Italian version). The names subsequently adopted are omitted (e.g. such as the new Latin names imposed on existing cities, which the Romans conquered during the expansion phase, 5th-2nd century BC). For the sake of simplicity, Sardinia has been excluded, whose original language (Protosardo or Paleosardo) is poorly known.

The populations considered: Ligurians, Etruscans, Greeks, Celts, Latins, Byzantine Greeks, Germanic populations (in particular Longobards and Goths). Settlements (and toponymic outcomes) of other populations that on various times occupied parts of Italy, including the Phoenicians, Umbrians, Sabines, Volsci, are left out.

“Termini di parentela” (Kinship terms), number 446, 13th of June 2020

This infographic shows kinship names in 7 different European languages; three of them are neo-Latin languages, three are Germanic languages, and one is Slavic.
Terms are organized in circumferences: from the ‘io’ who observes his family around, to (part of) the fourth degree on the most external ring. There’s also a broad, vertical organization according to the temporal sequence of the generations, from ancestors (above the ‘io’) to heirs (below). Same-generation relatives show approximately at the same height.

The lemmas of origin (from Latin or Proto-Germanic) are reported near to each node, whether they are known or reconstructed.

In the lower-left corner, the recurring affixes that mark the distance of degree of relationship and kinship acquired are lined up in a table; Germanic languages show a greater analogy than Latin languages, and a substantial equivalence between direct and ‘related’ relatives, who are classified as blood relatives (French beau/belle or English. –in-law). Finally, a small pie chart showing the percentage of consanguinity with the ‘io’ is added to each node.

“Gli alfabeti nella storia e chi li ha decifrati” (Alphabets in history, and who deciphered them), number 473, 20th of December, 2020

This infographic shows a wide collection of writing systems, arranged according to their respective phylogenetic relationships. Lines skirting the outer edge represent existing systems, while those that stop earlier refer to systems that are no longer in use.

We are able to read most of the systems nowadays, and connect to languages that have been or are still spoken. The few still unknown are labeled in black, those only partially know are labeled in dark grey.
Some systems are linked to the names of the scholars who deciphered them and made them intelligible. and the date they succeeded, some others are linked to the historical figures who created them out of the blue.

Upper right, there are two keys about the writing direction and the type of writing system. All the writing systems – as they are overall defined by scholars, who avoid using the word alphabet instead – presents a range of different solutions for the sake of communicating a meaning: ideographic (each linguistic sign representing a unique concept), logographic (each sign representing a concept and a sound, normally the initial sound of the word associated with the concept), alphabetic (each sign representing a sound or a combination of sounds), syllabic (each sign representing at least a consonant sound plus a vowel), abjad (signs represent only the consonants, no vowels expressed) and abugida (consonants plus diacritic marks that refer to vowels).

This art piece has been conceived as part of a series about visual linguistics and follows the previous visualizations on toponymy and kinship names. Idea, researches, and design are original.