Language Incomprehensibility Flowchart (It’s All Greek To Me)

Lan­guage Log was asked;

When an Eng­lish speak­er does­n’t under­stand a word one says, it’s “Greek to me”. When a Hebrew speak­er encoun­ters this dif­fi­culty, it “sounds like Chinese”. […] Has there been a study of this phrase phe­nomen­on, relat­ing dif­fer­ent lan­guages on some kind of Dir­ec­ted Graph?

To answer the query, Mark Liber­man checks out Wiki­pe­di­a’s ‘Greek to me’ entry (among oth­er sources) and pro­duces a rather eleg­ant dir­ec­ted graph depict­ing what lan­guages are ste­reo­typ­ic­ally incom­pre­hens­ible to oth­ers.

The accom­pa­ny­ing dis­cus­sion is also note­worthy. As one com­menter points out, the fact that the res­ult­ing dir­ec­ted graph is acyc­lic implies a sort of order­ing or hier­archy of lan­guage incom­pre­hens­ib­il­ity.

via Kot­tke