Language Poster. Two years of research, design, and consultation with Stanford University linguists went into the production of this beautiful chart. Colorful and filled with fascinating and useful information. With it you can trace the history of the English language, find out how Tiwi relates to Pitjantjatjara, or discover the current top 12 languages of the world.
“We don’t ask ourselves where languages come from because they just seem to be there: French in France, English in England, Chinese in China, Japanese in Japan, and so forth. Yet if we go back only a few thousand years, none of these languages were spoken in their respective countries and indeed none of these languages existed anywhere in the world. Where did they all come from?
…following the breakup of the Roman empire, the regional dialects of Latin gradually evolved into the modern Romance languages: Sardinian, Rumanian, Italian, French, Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese….
But while the Romance family illustrates well the concept of a language family, it is also highly unusual in that the ancestral language – Latin – was a written language that has left us copious records. The usual situation is that the ancestral language was not a written language and the only evidence we have are its modern descendants…
This larger, more ancient family is known as the Indo-European family and it includes almost all European languages (but not Basque, Hungarian, or Finnish), and many other languages of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India….
The precise time and place that Proto-Indo-European was spoken remains a matter of some dispute even today. The two most popular hypotheses postulate it was spoken in the Ukraine around six thousand years ago, or Anatolia (modern Turkey) around eight thousand years ago….
Russian linguists would include both in the Eurasiatic family, but Joseph Greenberg, a Stanford University linguist whose work is the basis for the Language Families of the World chart, considers them related to Eurasiatic, but not a part of it….”
Excerpt from the 12-page teacher’s supplement. Text courtesy of Merritt Ruhlen.