Sunday, March 22, 2015

Indo-European Language Families, as seen by

How much difficulty will you have learning English? Well, this illustration may have the answer. I found this wonderful, little graphic via StumbleUpon, and just couldn't resist posting this beautiful little morsel of informational goodness, created by (Stand Still Stay Silent). Basically, if your native language is closer to English (on the same branch of the tree), you'll have less difficulty than if you're a few branches away, or in a different forrest.

Notice that Arabic (and all of its dialects and variations), all African languages and all Asian languages are completely absent from this diagram. Why is this? Well, language is a key part of being a higher-functioning primate. It is the need to name things, actions, and ideas. Those languages and their related dialects developed independently as different "systems" among humans as societies and cultures developed.

Does this make your head explode? It should. It makes my head explode, quite honestly. Language is something most of us take for granted (take for granted = assume sb or smth is always there for us and constant).

The good news is that knowledge is half the battle. For example, if you're a native Italian speaker, be grateful that there is a 58% overlap of Latin root words with English. "Veterinario" is "veterinarian" in English. All words that end in "-zione" in Italian... well, just change them to "-tion" and you've got the English word for them. "Fondazione" is "foundation" and so on. And if you're a Russian speaker, expect to become very good friends with the English-English dictionary [] and thesaurus []. There is no escape from this. And if your native language isn't represented in the diagram, expect to work really, really hard to learn and master English. On the other hand, if you are a native Chinese speaker and you hear a native German-speaker tell you that learning English is "easy," you can refer them to this webpage.  :-P