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

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

10 thoughts on “A history of the world’s languages as a gnarly willow tree

    1. Is it? that’s cool, maybe I might learn it if it would unlock other languages for me. I have tried to learn Polish because my partner is Polish but that was very hard and I only got so far, perhaps Norwegian would be easier? I learn on the Duolingo App. I am glad you enjoyed this post Ørjan 🙂

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      1. With a bit of irony, it is👍not so many trolls left, but our biggest national park is named after the giants in Norse beliefs, the Jotunheim (home of the jotne) and the description of being reserved but forthcoming av ready to party is spot on 😬I would rather learn Polish if I was you, Norwegian is not very applicable to other than the 5 million Norwegians (although if you know Norwegian, you will understand Swedish and Danish as well). Great read👍

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      2. Yes I suppose it’s not that relevant to me Norwegian unless I move to Norway hehe. I am fascinated by your country and would love to visit some day. All Norwegian people I have met on WordPress (including yourself) and also in real life have been cool! I have stopped with learning Polish for now as the impetus to stay sharp on it is gone while we cannot travel, but plan on returning to Polish when we need to go there again. Are you learning any other languages? Take care

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      3. Likewise with the Kiwis Ive met👍Norway is quite cool, and a short hop from Poland with a good selection of flights. And there is plenty to see in a few days and a rental car. Check out my Norwegian Hyperloop route. I am using Duolingo as you do, to learn Spanish, but as you say, I need to travel to have the incentive to learn more. I have an ok handle on German and Dutch, and as a Norwegian, both Danish and Swedish is undestandable. Have a great weekend, and take care.

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  1. I had a conversation about Game of Thrones with someone in Poland in Polish and this was a major thrill of my life to speak in another language with a person. Im sure it was boring for them and like having a conversation with a four year old in Polish but anyway hahaha

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  2. I love love the infographics portrayed here via the posters. There’s something about them that ultimately makes you dive deeper .. The BEASTS, TROLLS, GIANTS graphic is fantastic. Of course, nice insight on Norwegian culture here. I’m always shocked to find that I learn something else while coming to your site haha. Nice work.

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    1. I’m so very happy you got enjoyment out of this my friend 🤗😽 yes Nordic cultures are absolutely fascinating, really every culture has something cool and quirky to offer. Keep up the great work with your provocative music blog 👏 take care

      Liked by 1 person

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