Pakistan’s linguistically DIVERSE AREAS


Pakistan is the site of several ancient cultures and intertwined with the history of the Indian subcontinent. The ancient history involves the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh the bronze aged indus civilization. It has been a home to people from different faith and cultures including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans, and Sikhs. This history has a great influence on the culture and linguistic diversity of the country. The goal of this visualization is to determine the most linguistically diverse areas in Pakistan.


My inspiration for this visualization is a similar map on the linguistic diversity of the world created by Kazimierz J. Zaniewski. By looking at the map, it is very easy to determine that the world’s most linguistically diverse countries are Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Fig. 1 Inspiration: Linguistic Diversity Around the World

Material Used

Carto: A web-based software used to create and analyze the map


Pakistan’s Districts:

World Languages and Dialects:


I first looked at the data for World Languages & Dialects(Fig 2). It has seven columns. Other than the information about the countries, the data also have divided the regions into macro areas. It also specifies if the point is a dialect or a language. I imported the data into Carto (Fig 3).

Fig 2. Data for the world’s languages and dialects
Fig 3. After importing data into Carto

After that, I added another layer of Pakistan’s provinces and districts. I clicked on Analysis tab in languages and dialects layer. In Intersect and Aggregate, I selected Pakistan’s provinces and districts as the target layer. Now I was able to see languages and dialects only for Pakistan(Fig 4).

Fig 4. Languages & Dialects in Pakistan

To improve the map and make it easier for everyone to understand it, I made the following improvements:

  • Changed the data points for languages and dialects to a heat map so that users can clearly see the intensity of linguistic diversity in an area.
  • Assigned different color to each province
  • Added a legend for the provinces
  • District’s name pops up on click an area
  • User can select and unselect layers
Fig. 5 Linguistic Diversity in Pakistan

Link to Visualization

Results & Interpretation

It was an interesting visualization for me. Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan but it is not the most linguistically diverse area. Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have a great number of languages and dialects. This can connect to back to the interesting ancient history these regions have.

Reflection & Future Direction

Carto is simple and easy to use the tool. By spending more time with the tool and understanding it better, I can create more interesting visualizations. I achieved my goal by mapping Pakistan’s linguistic diversity.

I always try to work with data from Pakistan but it is usually hard to get something interesting. I enjoyed working with something different and interesting. For the future, I would like to add another layer with each region’s population. It will also be interesting to add something about the foreign invasions in the regions so that we can identify where the diversity is coming from.