27 November 2008

United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian (Part 2)

In part 1, I faced off the search volumes of five versions of the names of the five big European countries. Today, I compared each time four European countries plus the US as far as the Google-popularity of a fifth European country was concerned. I started with the UK:

The UK was most popular in Spain, twice as much as in the US and Italy. France and Germany closed the rankings. My guess would be that this was caused by the larger contingent of British tourists in Spain. Note that I put the US in place of the search-term country. After all, a country name being most popular in its own territory didn't need proving but a comparison with the search patterns in the US could provide a nice study in contrast. Next, France:

France was most popular by far in the UK—a sentiment that was not returned as we saw above... Americans were the least interested in France. All searchers though were most interested in the summer: Tour de France time! Just like with the UK, popularity is generally in decline. Then came Germany:

All Europeans were about as much interested in this country, the US lagged a bit behind. Italy narrowly won this one. The 2006 World Cup soccer was again clearly visible, esp. in soccer-crazy Spain and Italy. So, how about Spain?

The interest in this country was staggered perfectly, from the top score in the UK (returning the favor; see above under the UK) to the least interested Italians. Americans came out one step above Italy. I wonder whether the UK trend line showed their vacation season, beginning at Christmas and lasting through the summer. The French and to a lesser extent the Germans also vacation in Spain but mostly in the summer only. Strangely, Americans were less into Spain during the summer... Finally, Italy:

One more time, the Europeans more or less agreed while the US lagged behind some. The summer 2006 peak was caused by the Azurri (Italian national soccer team) winning the World Cup in Germany.

25 November 2008

United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian (Part 1)

Today I faced off the five most populous countries of the European Union but not against each other. Instead, I investigated the Google-popularity of their names in the five main languages. Note that I kept the order of the languages the same for each country: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian. Let's start with the United Kingdom:

As expected, the English version of the name was by far the most common but was also diminishing in volume at a rapid and sustained pace. Spanish came in second; Italian, French and German barely registered in comparison—remember that the numbers on these Google Insights for Search graphs are relative, not absolute, i.e., not reflecting real volume numbers but only how the different search terms differ in search volume. Next, France:

We had two complications here: the English and French versions of the name were identical and so were the Spanish and Italian ones. In both cases, I kept the two languages on the graph even though only one of the trend lines was visible, that line being the sum total of the two languages' search volume. That way, the language color codes didn't change from graph to graph. Anyway, France was king and it didn't matter whether the French or the English version was what drove this line because the other three languages were so small in volume that they would have been behind even if it were possible to split up the English and French searches. The Tour de France cycling extravaganza produced the annual summer peak (see also my August 9, 2008 post). How about Germany?

This time, I had solid evidence for the native tongue normally being on top: Deutschland bested Germany. Both were decreasing through time. The one time English won out was in June 2006 when even Italian almost caught up with German. The reason: the World Cup soccer took place in Germany that year, mostly in June. The smaller uptick later on was Euro 2008, the European soccer championship. Do we need anymore proof that soccer is king in Germany? :-) This in contrast to France where cycling is king (see above). Next, Spain:

The pattern continued: the native language bested English and both declined through time. Italians had little affinity with Spain. Finally, I analyzed Italy:

One more time we had an "identical twin": Italia is both the Italian and the Spanish name for the country. Of course then, Italian + Spanish bested English. Just like with Spain, there was at least some search volume from the other languages too: I wonder if this might be due to both countries being favorite tourist destinations?

Update: Don't forget to read part 2.

23 November 2008

Hot vs. Cold vs. Wet vs. Dry

I analyzed the Google-popularity of four characteristics which are used to differentiate the Greek classical elements (see yesterday's post). Look at the diagram on the right: in Greece at least, the air was hot and wet, water was wet and cold, the earth was cold and dry, and fire was dry and hot. So how did they fare as far as Google search volume was concerned?

Picture Copyright en:User:Heron, Public Domain

Hot was "hot" and the other three were way behind. Not too interesting, maybe the country rankings per term offered more?

It looked like Americans were more concerned with cold and dry, more problematic than the other two. Note that the Netherlands were most worried about wet which makes sense, I guess, as they have been fighting to keep the sea out and their land dry for centuries. The whole Indian subcontinent was very focused on hot.