Word Families Overview

Very rough draft

Finding and Following posts

I haven't set up a good exploration interface here yet. You can see everything in the Master Index on google docs.

You can follow Word Family Friday on either Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date on posts.

Tour of a Post

Expand and Contract

Note that you can expand and contract the descendants of any entry! Any word that has descendants or derivative shows up with a little triangle (or "twisty") to the left of it; clicking on the twisty or anywhere on the line for that word will show or hide its descendants.

By default when a page loads, descendants are automatically expanded if a word with descendants meets any of three criteria: if the word is the root of a tree (has no known parent), if it is on the path to an English word, or if it is an intermediate node with no word form.


These colors are also used in the graph visualizations (though sometimes the colors used for text are slight tweaks of the graph colors, to make them more readable as text colors.)

Descendant ordering

I try to give the descendants of a specific word in a consistent order. I give organic descendants before borrowings, and then within each group, I order the descendants alphabetically by language name.

When alphabetizing languages, I ignore words like "Old" or "Classical" which indicate time period variants of a language, so "Old English" alphabetizes as "English". "Old Latin", "Latin", "Classical Latin", "Vulgar Latin", and "Medieval Latin" all alphabetize as "Latin".

Visualization Graph

The lines that connect words on the graph ("edges") are styled based on the kind of relationship. An organic descendant is a plain arrow.

If a relationship can't be confirmed to my usual standard of evidence, but it's either likely enough or interesting enough to include, then the edge is dotted and labelled with a "?".


What the heck is Arshian?

I don't like calling languages things like "Tocharian A". So, I use "Arshian" instead of "Tocharian A", "Kushean" instead of "Tocharian B", and "Kroränian" instead of "Tocharian C".

"Agnean" is a more standard alternate name for "Tocharian A", but that's based on the exonym "Agni", which is a modification of the self-designation "Arshi". So I prefer to use "Arshian", because I try to use language names as close to self-designations as I can.