At least 15,000 years ago, a single language started to break up. It broke into about seven different languages and, over the next 5,000 years, splintered into thousands more. Those languages became what's spoken by billions throughout Europe and Asia.
The seven languages are part of a "superfamily" of Eurasiatic languages, the Guardian reports, a long-debated theory on the history of human speech. It's tough to definitively trace back words when about half of words are replaced by completely different words every 2,000 to 4,000 years, but the British team advancing the super-languages theory has already shown in another study that certain words stay the same for tens of thousands of years longer. Using a computer model to search for words that only changed very, very rarely, the team determined which modern words likely sounded similar to the same words in ancient languages, then checked their results against a list of words reconstructed by linguists. That pointed them to a split from a common language at about 15,000 years ago.
Also interesting are some of the "ultraconserved" words that seldom changed throughout history: Frequently used words like "I" and "we" understandably have a long history but also, inexplicably, the verb "to spit." Apparently spitting is essential to our development as humans.
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
I am curious, to what geographic location was the first language 15,000 years ago? Perhaps they may not know the exact name of the local culture, but do they know the location?
Oh and why did this language begin 15,000 years ago, verse a longer time? How long was this single language a mainstay?
One wonders where and what we were doing when this language split took place. The Bible says we were up to no good. Judging from past performance, I wouldn't be surprised. What sort of endeavor could have spawned such a colossal human division? It would have to have been one ENORMOUS Hatfield-McCoy dustup.
I can imagine how it started at the Tower of Babel: "Oh, I think the exterior should be stucco."
So the other guy says, "NO NO NO! Do you know how much EXTRA WORK that will be? We should just paint."
First guy replies, "Do you know how tacky that will look after 10,000 years??? Stucco, I say!"
Et cetera, ad nauseum. Neither side listening too, or addressing the other, (much like today). It's a miracle we don't have a MILLION languages, IMO.
ppardee, please do not be an idiot with your misunderstood biblical tales.
Building the tower of Babel was a postive reflection on the abilities of the human race.
We humans had grown smarter and more independanet away from the GODS and they were not pleased.
Despite the age of time, various languages, we humans just have continued and as they watch us, know it, too!
Anti-intellectual comments should be kept to yourself.
Anyway, languages is one of the more reasonable applications of phylogenetic models. Granted we know of languages that did generate on their own and are not connected to any prior language (I remember a story about some def orphans at some orphanage who came up w/ their own sign language).
But languages are still have a way more historical rational to use a phylogenetic model than say.....biological origins.
Wttp/jaec45: No wonder the French and the Chinese make great foods.
Cool, a language that dates back to almost the beginning of time. They should make a movie about this later on. I wonder what they will call it?