Nath of Imprints of Philippine Science has a post called Philippine language relations in a map that shows, well, Philippine language relations in a map. Nath starts off with the disarming confession: “I am not a linguist and I am not a geographer/cartographer. I am a physicist who is in dire need of a stress reliever. Mapping this is therapeutic while in the thick of preparing a manuscript for submission.” If you click on the map, you’ll get an enlarged .jpg, and there’s interesting discussion in the comments.
And then there’s America labelled by an Australian who’s never been there and knows nothing about its geography. No linguistic relevance, but funny as hell. (Commentary, and unlabeled maps of Australian and French national divisions, at the Log.)
Addendum. Make it three maps; here‘s a neat one showing the words for ‘bear’ [and eight other words; thanks, iakon!] in the languages of Europe, with related ones in the same color.


  1. That Philippine language map is pretty cool. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a language family tree overlaid on a map like that before.

  2. It’s interesting: on map after map they’ve managed to show Welsh, Civilised Gaelic, Ruffians’ Gaelic and even (or do my eyes deceive me?) Manx Gaelic.
    But only once do they even hint at the existence of Breton.

  3. Sorry, I withdraw that whinge. Expanding the maps shows me that I was wrong. Though they don’t give Breton a nice wee colour of its own (boo!), bar on one map, they do record its vocabulary.

  4. There are actually eight other words besides ‘bear’. Scroll down.

  5. I note the metathesis in Ukrainian. The home of Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear?

  6. Trond Engen says:

    Does Gaelic mathan have an etymology?

  7. marie-lucie says:

    I would have liked to see the bear maps, but I only get a blank, black screen. Also, it seems that I can no longer access the Log: it comes up for a small fraction of a second and goes back to the previous screen. These two problems just showed up in the last couple of days. Any ideas of what might cause them?

  8. befuggled says:

    No idea what the cause may be, but I would recommend deleting the cache on your browser. Another option is to try visiting the pages with a different browser (if you have another installed).

  9. McBain doesn’t give much more than what’s in the legend, although without the modern spelling:
    a bear, Irish mathghamhuin, Early Irish mathgaman, from math- and gamhainn; with math, bear (?), cf. Welsh madawg, fox, and possibly the Gaulish names Matu-genos, Matuus, Teuto-matus, etc.
    a year-old calf, a stirk, Irish gamhuin, a calf, Early Irish gamuin, pl.g. gamna, year-old calf; from gam, winter: “winter-old”. For root, see geamhradh. Confirmed by the proverb: “Oidhche Shamhna, theirear gamhna ris na laoigh” – On Hallowe’en the calves are called stirks. Similarly and from the same root are Norse gymbr, a year-old ewe lamb, Scottish gimmer, Greek @Ghímaros, a yearling goat (Dor.). Hence gamhnach, farrow cow.

  10. marie-lucie says:

    befuggled, thank you for your recommendation, but I don’t even know what the “cache” is, so how do I delete it?

  11. m-l: Which browser do you use?

  12. Does Gaelic mathan have an etymology?
    There is a fuller discussion of the matter here.

  13. marie-lucie says:

    JC, I use Firefox. I used to use Safari (from Mac) but I like Firefox better. But one problem (perhaps the main one) is that my computer is now ancient (in computer context) and cannot handle upgrades, so there are things it cannot do, for instance play some videos. The problem I describe here is very recent though.

  14. marie-lucie says:

    per incuriam: thank you for the link.
    Two of the papers deal with the words for ‘fox’. These are serious technical papers, addressed to fellow Celticists, Slavicists and other Indo-Europeanists.
    In the first article, Blažek discusses ‘fox’ among other Celtic-Slavic or Celtic-Baltic words meaning ‘eagle’ and ‘swan’.
    In the second article, Witzcak presents a thoroughgoing discussion of mathan and related words under the title “A Celtic gloss in the Hesychian Lexicon” (the latter a Greek work containing Celtic, especially Galatian, words). W traces the modern Celtic words for ‘fox’ to an older one meaning “lynx”, later applied to the fox, the bear and sometimes the dog, depending on the regions and languages. Ultimately the most convincing root (among other possibilities) means ‘good, favourable, etc’. The meaning extension from ‘lynx’ to ‘bear’ (in lynx-less regions) is justified by the need for a replacement for the original name of the bear because of taboos.

  15. m-l: Try doing this.

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