Randy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

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Old World Language Families

Old World Language Families infographic

The Old World Language Families infographic from Stand Still Stay Silent Comic shows the “roots” of our modern languages. Follow each language’s path from bush to roots and discover how closely languages are related to each other.

Language trees for the language lovers! I’ve gathered pretty much all the data for this from ethnologue.com, which is an awesome well of information about language families. And if anyone finds some important language missing let me know! (Naturally most tiny languages didn’t make it on the graph, aww. There’s literally hundreds of them in the Indo-European family alone and I could only fit so many on this page, so most sub-1 mil. speaker languages that don’t have official status somewhere got the cut.)

Fantastic illustration that visualizes the evolution of all the modern languages! It’s a complex design that is intended for readers to dive deep and explore.

Knowing that the image itself will be shared as a stand-alone content piece, the image should include credits and links to the original site.

Found on http://mentalfloss.com

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Reader Comments (15)

Thanks to your article now I know what place I’m going to visit.
November 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterwarriorforum.com
This is really a fantastic illustration for language experts.
Luckily I'm one of them :)
thanks for sharing
November 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterItalian
There is no Tamil in this tree.. hardly the expert version. :(
November 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAkilaSri
Where is Tamil Language??


Only 6 languages is classified as Classical Languages in world. ' TAMIL , CHINESE, LATIN, GREEK, HEBREW & SANSKRIT.

In above classical language Tamil is the old language. Hebrew and Sanskrit is only in literatures. No one speak this languages. TAMIL is speak in 96 countries. It is learn in most part of the world
December 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkrishanth
I’ve never read your old world languagefamilies article, but, seriously, thanks for writing this article
December 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterisaac
There is no Tamil because it is not related to any Nordic Language. The poster does not claim to be comprehensive of the full range of world languages (note that Chinese and Hebrew are not included, nor Egyptian, Arabic, Japanese, the Turkic languages, etc.) There are two language families that the Nordic languages are rooted in: Indo-European and Finno-Ugric; that is what is represented here.
February 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRick
It's a lot clearer (not to mention totally amazing) to see how languages evolved through graphic representation. This infographic is great, not to mention impressive. Thanks for sharing. This will take a lot of hours of enjoyable reading and "tracing" about how languages have formed and from where.
Can we believe that this pictures is 100% true? I mean, the author has studied and investigate all the Indo-European languages?

Still missing one of the oldest European language, Basque.

February 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGorka
The poster is not accurate. It's from a graphic novel. The artist did not intend it to be 100% accurate as the languages shown relate to the story in the book.
February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie
Thanks for the explanation Stephanie!
February 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGorka
This is a schematic template that loses the very interplay of languages from various branches. There are languages that their impacted is beyond the size of the group that spoke them. For example, the effect of the Hebrew / Phoenician writing, distribution by Hellenic- Latin (and European languages through them in general) is a critical impact on many Western cultures. They also absorbed the Hebrew character of words in the first millennium BC.
August 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAbe Bird
What about the Dravidian languages?
December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHashim
Türkçede yok burada
August 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterYorumcu
Are you kidding us? WHERE IS TURKISH LANGUAGE!!!!

Whole Central Asia Speaking Turkish! Turkish language is one of the oldest language family in the world.

The oldest sample is The Orhun monuments. (AD 732)The monuments were discovered by a Swedish officer named Strahlenberg, and his finding was made known by publications in 1730. In 1893, the Danish scholar Thomsen was able to decipher these inscriptions and declare that they were written in Turkish. The monuments of Kultigin and Bilge Kagan, situated near the Kosho-Tsaydam lake in the Orhun River valley to the south of the Lake Baykal, and that of Sage Tonyukuk, the Deputy-Khan a little farther, are the three important memorials which make up what is known in general as the Orhun Monuments. The inscription used on them consists 38 characters. Numerous stone monuments are also found around the Yenisei River, but they belong to a period much earlier than that of the Orhun pieces, and there are in excess of 150 Skyturkish character-forms used on. The ancient Turkish script was written vertically with the lines running from top left downwards to the bottom right, and read accordingly, that is from right to left when the text is laid down on its right side.

Why I couldn't see this?
August 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHakan KOÇ
Where is TURKISH language, you've got old and big pain hah...???
August 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTürk

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