Previously, previously, previously.
Disappointed to discover that it's a directed graph :/
I think it's surprising and amazing that it's directed!
It's extremely unsurprising that it's directed: what is surprising is that it seems to be acyclic. However that's almost certainly simply because it's hugely and conveniently incomplete: do Japanese speakers really not say 'it sounds like x to me?' for instance, and what about Hindi speakers?
we need to figure out a way to make "sounds like czech" to me in china.
For all the Euro languages, I just say "Sounds like Esperanto."
Why are there two edges from Russian to Chinese?
Another error is calling it "heavenly script".
"Bird language" is for spoken language, "heavenly script" for written.
Their geographical taxonomy is hierarchical. So one arc for European Russia and the other for Asian Russia.
I wondered about that too, but it turned out to be just an error.
They've missed out English -> Double Dutch
The linked Language Log blog post has some replies about this and an updated diagram.
At which point we seem to have multiple cycles (Chinese -> English -> Dutch -> Hebrew -> Chinese is one of them). So, now directed, but not acyclic.
Ir's all graphs to me.
It appears that at least some of these idioms are references to literary works or historical events: "Greek to me" is from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar; "Chinese writing" is the document received from Wanli Emperor during an official visit to China by Russian representatives that remained untranslated for decades.
Turkish -> French is a bit of a stretch. Turks say "I'm French to that subject" to mean I am clueless about it, and it has little to do with communication.
Whar Moon-man Language?
Is that the Heavenly Script?