Certainly my amateur work is very flawed, and my poor translation will obscure what I am trying to get across. But still I need to try it, because I am so much fascinated by my “data”.
If you stroll around the word roots on my map and explore their verbose definitions from my etymological dictionary, you may notice yourself that the category #3, “Space, Position, Form”, shows particularly many items and even large clusters of items, e.g. around “warped”, “to bend”, “to wind”, “to plait”. All the 300 shown word roots are very prolific ones, as you can see from their descendant tree. So what does it mean that spatial concepts are significantly overrepresented among those that have inspired many more new words?
I would speculate that the role of the broad picture, of looking about, watching, demonstrating and imitating, was very important for the emerging language. That is, even though language is regarded as a “left-brain” activity, it is deeply anchored in the visual modality, and the words were transferred to other modalities, and even to abstract notions, by means of synesthesia and metaphor.
Already many years ago, I was struck by how much “multimedial” meaning was included in the verbose definitions of the Indoeuropean roots, in particular, categories #7 and #8. In the meantime — most recently by looking at prepositions — I have realised how important these spatial relationships and are for thinking (at least for my thinking).
I also like to visualize similarity relationships by spatial proximity and connector lines, and I wonder if my map succeeds to visualize the connectivist idea that meaning resides in the connections between the entities: Look at the unlabelled dark grey nodes that are connected to multiple words shown by light grey nodes? These guessed and reconstructed meanings of the Indoeuropean words are, IMHO, a good example of such “residing in the connections”, namely in the connections of tha adjacent modern words.
- My excerpts from my word origins dictionary Duden 7 may be faulty because I simply noted “word 1 > word 2” whenever the dictionary said that word 2 may stem from word 1 or that its origin were covered in the word 1 entry — so, for correct details, consult a full text such as Harper’s;
- My dictionary contained beautiful verbose definitions (based on Pfeifer or Pokorny) that I did not find anywhere in English, so I frivolously translated some of them — but if you understand German, here is the original;
- My selection of words includes thousands of German words but only a fixed basic vocabulary (based on my own discretion) of English and French ones;
- My top 300 statistics (of the words with the most descendants) may be influenced by faulty speculative derivations, by near duplicates due to unmentioned kinship, and by the uneven language distribution;
- My assignments to Dornseiff’s categories may be questionable;
- I omitted all diacritics and the “*” denoting the reconstruction of the roots;
- My reference was the 2nd edition of the Duden 7 which contained problems that are fixed only in the current 5th edition; if you want to trace my errors you may find the reasons in dwds.de; my errors with English may be my misunderstandings of etymonline.com, and those in French are from the wiktionary.fr;
- Finally, there may be numerous more flaws that I am not even aware of.
Incidentally today, I found a related resource: “Mapping Metaphor“, from Glasgow University.