Oxford University Press has placed the data from its World Atlas of Language Structures online. There’s some interesting information here. Following are some examples.

The map below shows this distribution of various arrangements of objects and verbs, and adjectives and nouns.

verb-object map

We can zoom in on the map to see how English relates to other European languages in this respect.

zooming in on object-verb language map

The next  map shows the kind of distinctions or lack of distinctions made in words for green and blue and other colors.

words for green and blue

The final example charts rhythm types. I didn’t realize how predominant the trochaic type — represented by the red circles — is. (This is the strong-weak-strong-weak pattern: DUM-dee DUM-dee DUM-dee.)

map of language rhythm families

Much of the data is technical and will be mainly of interest to linguists, although translators would be well served to give it a look. It seems to me that writers may wish to glance at this kind of information as well, not only to better understand the medium in which they work, but maybe also for insights in handling dialect and conveying regional flavor.