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Tom Ford
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Interconnectivity & Language

This linguistic map paints an alternative map of Europe, displaying the language families that populate the continent, and the lexical distance between the languages. The closer that distance, the more words they have in common. The further the distance, the harder the mutual comprehension.

The map shows the language families that cover the continent: large, familiar ones like Germanic, Italic-Romance and Slavic; smaller ones like Celtic, Baltic and Uralic; outliers like Semitic and Turkic; and isolates – orphan languages, without a family: Albanian and Greek.

Obviously, lexical distance is smallest within each language family, and the individual languages are arranged to reflect their relative distance to each other.

Take the Slavics: Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin are a Siamese quartet of languages, with Slovenian, another of former Yugoslavia's languages, extremely close. Slovakian is halfway between Czech and Croatian. Macedonian is almost indistinguishable from Bulgarian. Belarusian is pretty near to Ukrainian. Russia standa a bit apart, is closest to Bulgarian, but quite far from Polish.

Italian is the vibrant centre of the Italic-Romance family, as close to Portuguese as it is to French. Spanish is a bit further. Romania is an outlier, in lexical as well as geographic distance. Catalan is the missing link between Italian and Spanish.

The map also shows a number of fascinating minor Romance languages: Galician, Sardinian, Walloon, Occitan, Friulian, Picard, Franco-Provencal, Aromanian, Asturian and Romansh.

Latin, mentioned in the legend but not on the map, although no longer a living language, is an important point of reference, as it is the progenitor of all the Romance languages.

Lots of coldness in the Germanic family. The bigger members English and German, each keep to themselves. Dutch leans towards the German side, Frisian to the English side. Up north, the smaller Nordic languages cluster in close proximity; Danish, Swedish, Norwegian (both the Bokmal and Nynorsk versions).

And look at the tiny Icelandic, Faroer and Luxembourgish languages.

The Celtic family portrait is a grim picture: small language dots, separated by a lot of mutual incomprehension: the distance is quite far between Breton and Welsh, a bit closer between Irish and Scottish Gaelic, and further still between the first and second pair.

more, and additional charts & images at link...

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This is the best write up of how a #video #compression #algorithm (in this case #H264) actually works behind the scenes, even if you are just starting out in the techie world. Beautiful write up for geeks and beginners alike.

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