9 Fascinating Maps Show the Origins of Our Most Common Words
The news: We may live in an increasingly globalized world, but we often forget that the intermingling of cultures and languages far precedes the advent of laptops and smartphones.
Just take a look at these maps — helpfully put together by Reddit user sp07 — to see how pervasive the spread of language is. The maps show the etymological roots of common words, as well as which European countries use different variations of them. While the words may have changed and evolved over the centuries, these maps make the world feel a bit smaller and more connected.
"Honey-eater" is a popular, and adorable, way of describing bears.
Most of the words for "church" seem to have ancient Greek origins, which makes sense given the region's importance in the formation of early Christianity.
Many of the root words for "beer" seem to come from a Proto-Indo-European language, describing different aspects of the drink such as "bitter," "barley" and "brewer's yeast."
Most of Europe seems to pronounce the word "rose" the same way, though northern Italy is a notable exception.
The vast majority of Europe got their word for "pineapple" from Guarani, an indigenous language in South America.
There are a lot of variations on the word "apple," and it's interesting to see that versions of the Indo-Iranian word made it all the way to Finland and Estonia.
Given tea's Asian roots, it makes sense that the most common root words for it originate from China (Cantonese and Amoy).
"Cucumber" is a relatively divisive one, although variations on the medieval Greek word are pretty common.
"Orange" is often associated with China or Portugal, depending on the region. But the Sanskrit origin of the word is also very common.