Comic Artist Maps the History of Languages with an Illustrated Linguistic Tree

 

Minna Sundberg created this beautiful graphic art illustrating the linguistic tree of the world, drawing a connection between ancient and modern languages.
She based her work on previous research performed by Ethnologue and draw a stunning tree where each branch represents a language.

The origin of languages can be best explained if presented in connection with each other and Sundberg did an amazing job and her illustration could also be used in classrooms around the world.
After careful exploration, it can be observed that all languages of the world are the descendants of the Indo-European ancestral proto-language, and they branched out from this over time.

The inspiration for this illustration came from another of Sundberg’s works, named Stand Still. Stay Silent, and is a webcomic that takes place 900 years in the future. In the futuristic world that she created, her characters live in a post-apocalyptic Nordic world and they can all understand each other, even though speaking different languages.
The illustration with the origin story of the world’s languages is there to support the plotline of Sundberg’s webcomic but also to teach anyone interested in learning about linguistics and our roots.

Comic artist Minna Sundberg explores the history of languages with a creative infographic, designed as a tree diagram.

The size of the leaves approximates how many people speak each language, with English being one of the largest groups, alongside Spanish and Hindi.

Despite being geographical neighbors, Finnish and other Scandinavian languages are derived from different roots.

The European region splits into Slavic, Romance, and Germanic branches. Celtic languages, as well as Latin are shown as delicate twig-like branches.

The leftmost portion shows the relationship between the Indo-Iranian languages, with each branch showing a different “zone.”

Previously, Sundberg used a cat’s meow to illustrate how Finnish is “absolute gibberish” compared to the other four Nordic languages.

If you like Sundberg’s style, check out her other comic, titled A Redtail’s Dream, where the story ran for two years from September 2011 to November 2013. It’s about a young man and his shapeshifting dog’s adventures, inspired by Finnish mythology.

Minna Sundberg: Website | Comic

2 Responses to “Comic Artist Maps the History of Languages with an Illustrated Linguistic Tree”

  1. Lisa Ericson says:

    I take issue with your description: Linguistic tree of the world. This leaves out vast numbers of languages originating in Indigenous peoples throughout the world. Most of the African continent, South America’s indigenous populations, Asian languages to the east of India,as well as the Native peoples in North America.

    I am not saying Minna Sundberg’s work is deficient. She labeled and categorized things well according to her apparent goal. But your description is an example of how the world codifies things that have an “old world” and European base as superior.

  2. Carol Mesey says:

    How interesting and instructive. Has she illustrated China and Africa?

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