Another illustration to show time and distance.

A previous post Lexical Distance Diagram in 3D pondered how to show the relationship between languages by adding the factor time.  apparently, those thoughts are not new. In 1979 D.A. Levin drew a concept illustration how to show an evolution. Below an adaptation by M.W. Strickberger from 1990.


Strickberger, M.W. (1990): Evolution. Jones and Bartlett, Boston.

If one was to determine the linguistic distance of PIE languages through time and leave their trace in a three dimensional space then it would look similar to the illustration above.  Maybe however the top of this diagram should not be flat but rough, with languages that are more stable and have changed less lower in the time axis.

  • Levin, D.A. (1979) Hybridization: An evolutionary perspective. Stroudsburg, PN: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross

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