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Etymology Maps

Python script and resources to generate etymology maps per the 'etymology maps' subreddit.


  • Archive: original Python mapmaking script plus unused files from the Wiki Utilities provided by reddit user /u/Quoar [update 2014-09-25: the directory appears to have been taken down from the given link];
  • elephant: dictionary and outputs for my first etymology map on 'elephant', includes research notes provided by Prof. Václav Blažek;
  • resources: dictionary template, language codes dictionary, map template;
  • generateMap_v1.py: my adaptation of Python script written by reddit user /u/Quoar.


  1. make a new directory for your map, i.e. $ mkdir [yourword];
  2. make a copy of the dictionary_template.txt from the resources dir;
  3. replace word forms for each language for the word of interest (language codes defined in resources/language_codes_dictionary.txt);
  4. define fill colours grouped according to etymological stories (colour key/value pairs contained in the Python script);
  5. run $ python generateMap_v1.py [yourword]/dictionary_[yourword].txt;
  6. open the .svg output from [yourword]/map_[yourword].svg in Inkscape or other graphics software;
  7. annotate with a title, legend and etymological explanations (best to save as a different filename);
  8. export as .png or other image format;
  9. upload to Imgur and submit link to 'etymology maps' subreddit.
  10. let me/theWorld know about it! @cainesap #etymologymaps