Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Beautiful illustration of linguistic family tree shows origins of the world's most popular languages

196.jpg

We'd never be so bold as to suggest we can give you a history lesson on where and how language began (our linguistics correspondent is out of the office today) but we can show you where English came from.

In a beautiful illustration of the ultimate linguistic family tree, we're treated to look at where the our language came from and which languages influenced our very speech today. 

 Illustrator Minna Sundberg, who also writes the webcomic Stand Still. Stay Silent, created the design to show how old languages are and how far back they go. While there are no dates attached to the graphic, she does write that "the sizes of the branches represent the recorded native speakers since the year 0". 

It all begins with the biggest tree of all, which is the Indo-European trunk, from which nearly all modern languages originate. From there it splits into to two trees - the European side and the Indo-Iranian side. Of course, English comes from the former partition, but it still has to go a long way before it becomes the language we know and use today.

The European section splits into eight factions, including Germanic, Romance and Slavic. Romance forms the beginnings of languages such as Spanish, Italian and French but it's the Germanic side that is the root of English. 

The Germanic trunk splits into west Germanic and east Germanic, and from the west side comes English by way of Anglo-Frisian and Scots too, all of which helped to form our language today. 

Minna has also done a more detailed comparison of the Nordic languages below, and you can see how these compare to our words in English. 

Take a look at the origins of all other languages currently being spoken across the world. 

Click on the image below to enlarge

Linguistic family tree illustration

Related

flight-concept-04.jpg

Would you fly on a windowless plane?

2 (1).jpg

Right to die cancer sufferer Brittany Maynard travels to Grand Canyon

21.jpg

30 beautiful pairs of party shoes all under £100

Comments

More

“How Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington gave my generation a voice"

The musician leaves a lasting legacy

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Jul 2017

The grossly sexist ads we can’t believe exist in the 21st century

From a Co-op egg to that deeply offensive Protein World poster

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

How your Love Island obsession is wreaking havoc with your health

Experts have genuinely issued a warning…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

Boots won’t cut morning-after pill price because we can’t be trusted

Cheaper emergency contraception? Unprotected sex party at ours, everyone!

by Amy Swales
21 Jul 2017

Did Japan’s First Lady pretend not to speak English to ignore Trump?

Akie Abe, we salute you.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Jul 2017

This 'Beer For Her' has managed to offend everyone on Twitter

Apparently womankind can only ever drink from pink receptacles

by Megan Murray
21 Jul 2017

This Instagram account is aiming to break the miscarriage taboo

Women are coming together to share their stories of loss

by Megan Murray
21 Jul 2017

Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who salary revealed after gender pay gap row

And it may surprise you…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

Quiz: which famous duo are you and your work wife?

It’s time to find out, once and for all, who you and your work wife really are…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jul 2017

You’ve been making your tea wrong this whole time, reveal tea experts

Wait, what?

by Jasmine Andersson
20 Jul 2017