Yesterday, a friend, who is also doing her PhD related to diagrams (University of Granada), sent me an email asking me that question. She also sent me a kind of research she has been done in Google images. She introduced the word ‘diagram’ in English, Spanish and German in Google images and the results were quite interesting. See below some of the images.
Analysing the images, it can be seen that in Spanish the term ‘diagram’ seems to be denoting more complex structures, while most of the English images are linear and simpler layouts. In German, images related to the term ‘diagram’ are basic diagrams, such as pie charts, bar charts, flow charts.
Undoubtedly, what is common in the three languages is that a diagram is composed by a visual (graphic or typographical) structure that employs synthetic and schematic language to represent connections between components, quantities, directionality, functions. In terms of diagrams layout, there is a long list of parameters that can define diagrams structure, for instance the kind of information represented, the media where the diagram is going to be, the purpose of the diagram, its audience, among others.