Skip to comments.The Mother of All Languages. Modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue
Posted on 04/15/2011 2:30:50 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
The world's 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests.
The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species.
Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world's cultures by taking their single language with themthe mother of all mother tongues.
"It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of," Dr. Atkinson said.
About 50,000 years agothe exact timeline is debatedthere was a sudden and marked shift in how modern humans behaved. They began to create cave art and bone artifacts and developed far more sophisticated hunting tools. Many experts argue that this unusual spurt in creative activity was likely caused by a key innovation: complex language, which enabled abstract thought. The work done by Dr. Atkinson supports this notion.
His research is based on phonemes, distinct units of sound such as vowels, consonants and tones, and an idea borrowed from population genetics known as "the founder effect." That principle holds that when a very small number of individuals break off from a larger population, there is a gradual loss of genetic variation and complexity in the breakaway group.
Dr. Atkinson figured that if a similar founder effect could be discerned in phonemes, it would support the idea that modern verbal communication originated on that continent and only then expanded elsewhere.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Tower of Babel.
All of a sudden because they could talk about it...longer arrows came to be?? or sharper arrows came to be??
Just love these folks...They can say anything they want....AND GET MORE GRANT MONEY!!!!
That is funny.. When I was in college taking an anthropology class, the professor said no way lanquages developed from a single language..
There are some who also believe that in Eternity, the Redeemed will all speak Hebrew, i.e., God’s language. FWIW
Next thing, CNN—ABC—NBC—CBS all will be telling us that Barry’s ancestors werethe start of ‘language’.
Well, hell. Can't we go to LATVIA and ask?
They still have not “proven” that man came from the African continent, just pure conjecture. Remember “Lucy”? These so called experts, as one freeper pointed out need more grant money so they come up with the latest whack-a-doo theory and further their career by a few more years. I choose to believe in the Word of God and not some whatever professor in line for some tribute or money.
When the government asks me my race, I say “African American”, because after all, it is only a matter of when my ancestors left Africa.
Nah... everyone knows algore invented language.
We are all Egyptians.
More Pan-Africanism here I see.
What a life to live. I’m tempted to go along and then start suggesting my own insane ideas and get myself some grant money.
I’m thinking we’re all native Babelonians.
Which, of course, explains television...
Do you mean was actually pronounced? We have a pretty good idea. Frances Lord, a professor of Latin at Wellsley College discusses this issue in The Roman Pronunciation Of Latin: Why We Use It and How To Use It (Boston: Ginn, 1893).
Seems someone was way ahead of these people. I read in a book that has been around for a few thousand years that the whole world at one time spoke one language.
All we can do is for these poor lost souls that initiate and believe this kind of garbage; that they find salvation in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is a No §¶¡+ Sherlock moment
What's the alternative? Occasionally groups of Humans way back in time just decided to create whole new languages out of the blue for no apparent reason?
We are all Proto-Babels!!!
DUH ! Adam-Eve...same language.
Simply too many things which no theory of human language evolution could begin to explain. For instance the IndoEuropean (Japhetic) and Semitic groups show no meaningful racial differences and could not plausibly have split up more then four or five thousand years ago; yet the languages are totally unrelated other than for a handful of borrowed words. By way of contrast, Slavic and Germanic languages split up three or four thousand years back and are still strongly related. Words for many if not most basic things (numbers, earth, air water, milk, wine, family members, knives, forks, spoons...) are highly similar. The weirdest thing in Russian to many people's minds is the simple word to go (идти), nonetheless, it turns out that English has entirely related words like iterate or itinerary, so that if you think "I iterate myself to the store" then a Russian saying "Я иду в магазин" doesn't seem that weird.
But no such relationships exist between any IE and any Semitic language.
Worse are the Baltic languages. Lithuanian for instance may contain a dozen or two dozen things you'd recognize as IndoEuropean roots, probably borrowed, but 99.9% of Lithuanian looks like it came straight from Mars. I mean, Lithuanians have blue eyes and yellow hair and have sat right there between the Germanic and Slavic worlds forever and by all rights their language should be halfway between German and Russian. But in real life, English is a whole lot closer to Russian than Lithuanian is and there's no explaining that via any theory of language evolution.
The basic reality is that the old Bible story of the tower of Babel comes closer to matching up with real evidence than any theory of language evolution does. What we actually see is what we'd expect if human communication had been via some entirely different modality until some very recent point, four or five thousand years back and not 50,000 or 500,000; and then, whatever that old system of communication was stopped working on a single day and never worked again afterwards, and the kinds of spoken languages we use now were devised out of dire necessity over a period of a hundred or a couple of hundred years.
Given that thesis, the only thing needed to explain the IndoEuropean/Semitic divide is that the two groups were living on opposite sides of the Caucasus mountains during that critical period of one or two centuries during which modern languages were being developed.
The late Dr. Gene Scott?
You’re right, it is funny. A course I took on the history and derivation of languages said the same thing and that most languages appeared to have derived from ancient languages in the Indus valley. They lump the african phonemes together but don’t seem to account for the variations and development of individual languages and dialects based on small tribal groups of which there are many in africa. Are they saying that the Bushmen share the same language as central or northern african tribes or that the North African groups are not distinct from the central and Southern African tribes?
Human language came from the elves, according to tolkien. I think.
An “evolutionary psychologist”...then it must be true. Did he have on a white lab coat? A white lab coat is always the final authority. And if he had glasses, well then, there’s just no arguing with that.
Except for arabic, which originated with the world's vultures.
That's better than evolution. I mean, ANYTHING is better than evolution, including Voodoo and Rastafari.
A slightly older friend in parochial school was in his third or fourth year of Latin when the curriculum switched from teaching ecclesiastical pronunciation (basically Italian) to classical pronunciation.
He mulled it all over, raised his hand and said, "Sister, I REFUSE TO BELIEVE that Julius Caesar said 'WANEY-WEEDY-WEEKY!'"
maybe julius caesar was pronounced hoolio kaizer?
ah-reev-ah-dair-chee and sigh-a-nar-a
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How can you do that? Neither African nor American is a race. Is a Caucasian who moves from Africa to America an African American?
I was at a language camp in Norway and we went on a hiking trip. We came across an old guy that had a shack way up in the hills. The teacher (knew many of the Norwegian dialects) and the norwegian kids could only understand maybe 25% of what the old guy said.
The dialects will change from mountain valley to mountain valley but are still fairly similar. But this guy must have lived in the “Land that Time Forgot”.
It wouldn’t be Hebrew. That’s post-Babel. It would be the Adamic tongue, pre-Babel.
Yep, that emasculated pronunciation killed Latin for me as well.
I cannot picture Elmer Fudd conquering anything.
bump for later
Nice display of ignorance, there...
Lithic technology is one of my specialties in archaeology. Try to teach someone how to make a Clovis point by only pointing and grunting.
Can't be done...