A Map of Lexical Distances Between Europe’s Languages

A Map of Lexical Distances Between Europe's Languages

A Finn and a Spaniard walk into a bar. How do they strike up a conversation? Finnish people probably won't make a lot out of Spanish, and if you're from Spain, Finnish might as well be Chinese. And it would be rare for both to be fluent enough in French, German, Esperanto or Russian – all languages which once had the ambition to become Europe's lingua franca. No, that Finn and that Spaniard will talk to each other and order drinks in English, the true second language of the continent. Also, the bartender is probably Irish anyway.

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