I’m currently working on organizing and preparing my work for the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Conference in Boston in April. I’ll be presenting a “Systematic Review of Chinese-Language Research on Investment in African Agriculture”. I wanted an engaging way to display the themes presented in the literature and thought word clouds fit the bill. Only one question: can you make word clouds of out of Chinese characters?

The answer is “yes”, with two caveats. First, find a word cloud tool that recognizes Chinese characters. http://www.wordclouds.com/ works for me. Second, you’ll have to manually separate the characters that represent individual words and remove the ‘common’ words like “的”, as the word cloud creator won’t automatically recognize them like it would “and” or “the”. For example:

Original: 中国农业发展对非洲的启示

Modified: 中国   农业   发展   非洲   启示

So, a little bit of prep work is required, but the result is cool. Here’s a quick test I did, though there are a lot more style options to play with…




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