Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Language did Adam and Eve Speak?


And by "Adam and Eve" I mean, the earliest humans to speak language, since I don't believe in a literal Garden of Eden. But even using an evolutionary model, there really did have to be a first human (as well as an ultimate answer to which came first, the Chicken or the Egg). I've long believed that all languages on the planet do descend from one original language.

If you can line up even two ancient language families, you've gone a long way toward proving it. Indo-European and Semitic (which is itself provably connected deep into Africa) can be intriguingly shown to have affinities in the following regular correspondences:


Latin, non (not, no)

Arabic, laa (not, no)


Latin, nox (night)

Arabic, layla (night)


Latin, in (in)

Arabic el (to)

 

 But new research shows that word order demonstrates a probable ultimate ancestor. Ancient languages favor Subject-Object-Verb order (such as Latin Caecilius Metellam videt, 'Caecilius sees Metella). And all languages that don't follow this order are descended from languages that once did. That's fascinating.
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