A history of the world's languages as a gnarly willow tree

A history of the world’s languages as a gnarly willow tree

The world’s mother tongues have blended and intermingled since humans first stood upright and emerged out of the primeval forests. Here’s a really awesome family tree beautifully illustrated by Minna Sundberg. Minna is an immensely talented illustrator who has been creating a wonderful tales set in northern Europe for her online web comic Stand Still, Stay Silent. Over the past few years she has won a massive online following.

This Tolkeinesque family tree was created by Minna using data from ethnologue.com. Trees are a common metaphor for discussing the historical relationships between languages, this gorgeous fantasy-filed infographic compelled me to find out more about Minna’s art.

In the About section I found a prelude to the story which has made me want to read the whole thing…  

It’s been 90 years after the end of the old world. Most of the surviving population of the Known world live in Iceland, the largest safe area in existence, while the safe settlements in the other Nordic countries; Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, are small and scarce.

Countless mysterious and unspoken dangers lurk outside the safe areas, the Silent world, and hunters, mages and cleansers will spend their lives defending the settlements against the terrifying beings. Because of a great fear towards everything in the Silent world no official attempts to explore the ruins of the old have been made, and most of the information about it has turned into ancient lore, known by few.

Stand Still, Stay Silent is a world filled with medieval heroes and heroines, mythical creatures like trolls , beasts and giants and breathtaking imagery in the land of the Vikings. Looking forward to exploring this online comic further. This chick has got some serious talent.

If you love the language poster, purchase it here

To aid your discovery here are some links to the various world infographics, arranged in the order in which they appear in the story:

Page 66: Map of the known world
Page 67: The different nationalities of the world
Page 68: The first rule
Page 86: Map of the Keuruu-Pori waterway
Page 87: Icelandic and Finnish mages
Page 102: The blessed felines 1/2
Page 103: The blessed felines 2/2
Page 118: The Cleansers 1/2
Page 119: The Cleansers 2/2
Page 156: The Dalahästen train
Page 178: Beasts, Trolls and Giants
Page 195: The Nordic Languages
Page 196: Old World language trees
Page 274: Vættur – Vätte – Maahinen
Page 275: Illness documentation 1
Page 300: The Dagrenning Program


A history of the world's languages as a gnarly willow tree


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