See LanguageOnItsWayDown, LinguisticDeterminism, LearningForeignLanguages, CountriesWithMoreThanOneLanguageThe hierarchy above is a bit limited (see LimitsOfHierarchies). English, while Germanic in origin, has borrowed much from French. Spanish, considered one of the Romance languages (though not listed above), is influenced heavily by Arabic. In other words, a DirectedAcyclicGraph and not a tree is probably a better taxonomy.DirectedAcyclicGraph – Not. The graph probably does contain cycles, influence can go both ways. In fact at the language level this is quite common. at the level of individual words it also happens (word is loaned to one language, mutated, then loaned back to the original language, perhaps with a slighlty different meaning), but less frequently. (There are also other interesting effects such as a single word being loaned twice to one language e.g. hostel and hotel come from the same Old French root but are loaded to English at different times with slightly different meanings.)
Very well, but, in essence, a language belongs to a single family. One would not consider BahasaIndonesia? a GermanicLanguage, even if it is full of Dutch (in modern times). Note also what I put in the ThaiLanguage article. -- TheerasakPhotha
But this is beacuse there isn't really a 'thing' that is a GermanicLanguage; there are just languages. Also note that people seem to like to force tree structures on things even when one isn't there (this can be an argument both for and against OO ^_^).
(There isn't really a 'thing' that is a language either; there are just sequences of phonemes uttered with variations in tone and duration.) The taxonomy of linguistics is, was, and always will be a useful tool, like any other abstraction used in a technical field. Generally speaking, it conforms to a hierarchical structure where branches usually represent events like migrations and other divergences, as is the case with any GermanicLanguage (GrimmsLaw?). -- TheerasakPhotha
There has been some success recently in unsupervised language learning: