Lexical Distance Among the Languages of Europe

Oh, look, some porn for language nerds.
I think it’s hilarious how Albanian and Greek are sitting there all alone, like, “Who are all THESE assholes?” Though I also think Albanian would be insulted to hear that it’s lexically closer to the Slavic family than to the Romance family.


Diagram of lexical distance between selected Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages of Europe

This chart shows the lexical distance — that is, the degree of overall vocabulary divergence — among the major languages of Europe.

The size of each circle represents the number of speakers for that language. Circles of the same color belong to the same language group. All the groups except for Finno-Ugric (in yellow) are in turn members of the Indo-European language family. Lexical distance is measured by calculating the percentage of overlap in cognate terms between language pairs (a measure of lexical proximity), then taking the inverse.

English is a member of the Germanic group (blue) within the Indo-European family. But thanks to 1066, William of Normandy, and all that, about 75% of the modern English vocabulary comes from French and Latin (ie the Romance languages, in orange) rather than Germanic sources. As a result, English (a Germanic language) and French (a Romance language) are actually closer to each other in lexical…

View original post 102 more words

This entry was posted in Science Groupie by alysonmiers. Bookmark the permalink.

About alysonmiers

Alyson the Incorrigible of House Miers; High Priestess of Sparkly Fractal Flames; Summoner of Creative Insults; Wrangler of Adverbs, Semicolons and Conditional Clauses; Bane of Euphemisms; Mixer of Genres; and Mother of Witches.