I came upon an excellent graphical representation of the linguistic distance between a number of European languages. I'm looking for a similar worldwide map of currently spoken languages. Or at least the raw data. Even if it's not truly worldwide, but just wider than the one presented here, I'd still be interested in it.
@Fiksdal, I am the author of this of this version,
which is based off of Tyschenko's work, see here
Since translating Tyschenko's map, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how the original list was made. Not much of Tyschenkos work is online and the best content is in Ukrainian or Russian. I also tried reaching out to the University in Kiev and Linguistics Department there, with no success. And I have limited access to any paper copies of his research.
But I think I have a pretty good idea of how the data was obtained. These maps basically show the Levenshtein distances lexical distance or something similar for a list of common words. Now this list could be the Swadesh № 100 or № 207 list with counting duplicate letter shifts in different words as one LD, or it could be Dolgopolsky № 15 list or a Swadesh–Yakhontov № 35 list and just brutally counting Levenshtein LDs on those lists. Or Tyschenko's could have his own list of words and methods to calculate the lexical distance. In one paper a master matrix is described with all of the lexical distance calculations and that each where calculated, but which exact method and a list of which words is not included.
I experimented with a couple of lists and methods my self and I come fairly close to the original matrix. Working on programming it automatically (if you have same word list from different languages) so it gives you a matrix over several languages and this is a test on Germanic languages.
|En|Sc|Du|Af|Ls|Li|Wf|Sf|Nf|Lu|Ge|Yi|Da|Sw|Fa|Ic|Nb|Nn|Sr |00|13|29|30|30|28|26|26|32|40|33|34|39|37|38|42|38|36|37 English |13|00|33|31|34|31|26|30|33|40|36|39|42|37|42|44|41|42|36 Scotts |29|33|00|07|15|15|28|26|25|35|29|33|38|33|37|37|39|37|41 Dutch |30|31|07|00|17|19|30|25|23|34|31|34|34|31|36|37|35|33|40 Afrikaans |30|34|15|17|00|22|30|24|21|36|24|30|38|34|37|37|37|32|40 Low Saxon |28|31|15|19|22|00|28|31|30|33|28|34|37|34|40|39|38|38|44 Limburgs |26|26|28|30|30|28|00|26|27|39|33|38|42|37|39|43|42|41|40 West Frisian |26|30|26|25|24|31|26|00|29|41|32|32|40|37|43|45|39|36|43 Saterland Frisian |32|33|25|23|21|30|27|29|00|41|36|37|37|36|38|37|37|34|39 North Frisian |40|40|35|34|36|33|39|41|41|00|27|40|45|42|50|51|45|45|51 Luxembourgish |33|36|29|31|24|28|33|32|36|27|00|30|39|34|42|40|38|37|45 German |34|39|33|34|30|34|38|32|37|40|30|00|38|34|36|36|36|36|42 Yiddish |39|42|38|34|38|37|42|40|37|45|39|38|00|19|24|27|04|18|42 Danish |37|37|33|31|34|34|37|37|36|42|34|34|19|00|28|28|20|19|39 Swedish |38|42|37|36|37|40|39|43|38|50|42|36|24|28|00|10|21|20|44 Faroese |42|44|37|37|37|39|43|45|37|51|40|36|27|28|10|00|25|20|43 Icelandic |38|41|39|35|37|38|42|39|37|45|38|36|04|20|21|25|00|15|41 Norwegian (bokmål) |36|42|37|33|32|38|41|36|34|45|37|36|18|19|20|20|15|00|38 Norwegian (nynorsk) |37|36|41|40|40|44|40|43|39|51|45|42|42|39|44|43|41|38|00 Sranan
just to compare Swedish, I get 19 (Tyschenko got 21) to Danish, 28 (26) to Icelandic, 19 (16) to Norwegian (bokmål)
by German I get, 33 (49) to English, 29 (25) to Dutch, 30 (41) to Danish
My method and list does not match up to Tyschenko's but at times I am pretty close. So, yeah a worldwide version of this is possible, have to have the raw data from the languages (word lists) and I have to define a method and work on a program that could analyse the lists (and then go through the results to check them manually)
As noticed in this answer, Prof. Tyshchenko's work primarily targeted languages spoken in Europe, hence, most of them belong to the Indo-European family (except, probably, only Basque). Even Celtic languages form a mini-group of four.
Image courtesy of. I apologize the's no English version of the map with numbers.
Although I didn't find any direct mention why it does not cover other language families (LF), I think, we may assume that Linguistic Distances (LD) of languages belonging to different LF may be too hard to measure. This is probably caused by too different linguistic tools (mind the vowels, consonants, lexical tones, intonation patterns, and also a whole set of syntactic tools).
If you check the Wikipedia article on mutually intelligible languages, you may notice that most language pairs having short LD do belong the same LF.
Also, note that Prof. Tyshchenko's work (link; sorry for it's in Ukrainian only) is not an independent research. Instead, it's rather a result of long hard work of a big group of linguists who elaborated various methodologies of how to measure the LD. And it resulted only a list of measured LD between the languages spoken in Europe.
So I think that the suggested methodology can't be automatically applied to all world's languages, hence there's probably no worldwide map you're asking for.
There is very nice language similarity chart, almost one hundred languages compared..