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Language tree: a scheme compiled by linguists

Дерево языков

There are several thousand languages in the world. The most famous directories include only modern (ie, living and recently extinct) languages. According to the Ethnologist of those 6910 , and according to the Registry Lingvosphere ( English ) - 4994 . Most of them are united in families, some languages ​​are considered to be isolated (that is, they are single-language families) or remain unclassified.

Did you know that all the languages ​​that humanity uses today can be divided into several groups according to their origin? Illustrator Minna Sandberg offers informative infographics showing how different languages ​​are related to one another, and what place each of them occupies in the World.

Language tree

Seven languages ​​are considered to be a genetic linguistic association of about the same depth level as the Indo-European languages, that is, disintegrated about 6-7 thousand years ago. Some families, traditionally so-called, turn out to be deeper associations (for example, Austronesian languages, Cushitic languages). Below they are called the superfamilies .

In total there are about 420 language families, more than 100 isolates and more than 100 unclassified languages. Families are often combined into units of a higher level-the macrofamily (phylum), but at the present time the existence of most of them continues to be only a scientific hypothesis that requires further confirmation. Only theories about the existence of the Nostratic and Afrasian macrofamilies have proved a reliable justification.

The most convenient way to order such a large number of families is not genetic, but geographic - on continents or continents, although the boundaries of language families, of course, do not fully correspond to physical boundaries.

Genetic diversity is not the same for different regions.

  1. Eurasia : only 21 families, 4 isolates and 12 unclassified languages.
  2. Africa and South-West Asia : a total of 28 families, 10 isolates and 10 unclassified languages.
  3. Oceania : "Papuan" and Australian languages. A total of 100 families and 32 isolated languages.
  4. North America (including Mesoamerica): total 42 families, 28 isolates and 6 unclassified languages.
  5. South America : according to the latest information, there are 55 families, 43 isolated and 77 unclassified languages.
Language tree

The more "leaf", the more people speak the appropriate language. English, as one would expect, in the champions. However, for many it will be a surprise that in the Punjabi in the world speaks almost as many people as in German, and in Bengali - more than in French and even Portuguese.

Language tree

European languages ​​are divided into three main branches - Slavic, Romance and German. At the same time, English and other languages ​​of Britain - first of all, Welsh (Wales) and Gaelic (Scotland) - are the seventh water on the jelly. Slovak and Slovenian - very distant relatives, but Latvian with Lithuanian is much closer to Russian than to Estonian.

Language tree

The infographics clearly show the German roots of the English language.

Language tree

Unlike other Scandinavian languages ​​- Swedish and Norwegian, - Finnish belongs to the group of the Uralic languages, together with the Estonian and Udmurt languages. A Hungarian - a close relative of the languages ​​of the peoples of the Khanty and Mansi.

Language tree

This powerful, sprawling language branch is the Indian group of Indo-European languages. All of them are operating and practically all are used in the territory of modern India. Can you imagine how difficult it is for the inhabitants of this country?

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