Every human language evolved from ’single prehistoric African mother tongue’
2011 04 19
By David Derbyshire | DailyMail.co.uk
Every language in the world - from English to Mandarin - evolved from a prehistoric ’mother tongue’ first spoken in Africa tens of thousands of years ago, a new study reveals.
After analysing more than 500 languages, Dr Quentin Atkinson found compelling evidence that they can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors.
The findings don’t just pinpoint the origin of language to Africa - they also show that speech evolved at least 100,000 years ago, far earlier than previously thought.
Origin: The findings show that speech evolved at least 100,000 years ago, far earlier than previously thought.
British evolutionary scientists last night welcomed the study and said it shed light on one of the most important moments in human evolution.
There is now compelling evidence that the first modern humans evolved in Africa around 200,000 to 150,000 years ago.
Scientists have found that every language can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors in Africa. The further away from Africa a language is spoken, the fewer distinct sounds - or phonemes - it has.
Around 70,000 years ago, these early humans began to migrate from the continent, eventually spreading around the rest of the world.
Although most scientists agree with this ’Out of Africa’ theory, they are less sure when our ancestors began to talk.
Some have argued that language evolved independently in different parts of the world, while others say it evolved just once, and that all languages are descended from a single ancestral mother tongue.
Dr Atkinson, of Auckland University, has now come up with fascinating evidence for a single African origin of language.
In a paper published today in Science, he counted the number of distinct sounds, or phonemes, used in 504 languages from around the world and charted them on a map.
The number of sounds varies hugely from language to language. English, for instance has around 46 sounds, some languages in South America have fewer than 15, while the San bushmen of South Africa use a staggering 200.
Dr Atkinson found that the number of distinct sounds in a language tends to increase the closer it is to sub-Saharan Africa.
He argues that these differences reflect the patterns of migration of our ancestors when they left Africa 70,000 years ago.
Languages change as they are handed down from generation to generation.
In a large population, languages are likely to be relatively stable - simply because there are more people to remember what previous generations did, he says.
But in a smaller population - such as a splinter group that sets off to find a new home elsewhere - there are more chances that languages will change quickly and that sounds will be lost from generation to generation.
Professor Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at Reading University, said the same effect could be seen in DNA.
Modern-day Africans have a much greater genetic diversity than white Europeans who are descended from a relatively small splinter group that left 70,000 years ago.
’The further you get away from Africa, the fewer sounds you get,’ he said.
’People have suspected for a long time that language arose with the origin of our species in Africa and this is consistent with that view.’
Professor Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist at Oxford University, said the origin of language could now be pushed back to between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.
’The study shows that ancestral language came from somewhere in Africa,’ he said.
Article from: dailymail.co.uk
Also tune into:
Michael S. Schneider - Constructing The Universe with 1 through 12, Nature’s Numerical and Geometric Language
Pierre Sabak - Hidden Symbolism of the Dragon
Laird Scranton - The Science and Symbols of the Dogon
Dennis Fetcho - The Isisian Codes
Pierre Sabak - The Theban Priesthood, Adam & Eve’s Bloodline
Massacre at the hillfort: Mass grave that is challenging our beliefs about Iron Age Britain
Twin Babies’ Secret Language? (Video)
Numbers make no sense to people who can’t speak a language, scientists claim
Birth of a Language (Video)
Ancient language mystery deepens
On Languages of Power and Powerlessness
Experts trying to decipher ancient language
Languages evolve in sudden leaps, not creeps
First Tongue: An Ancient Global Language
Latest News from our Front Page
No Bank Deposits Will Be Spared from Confiscation
2013 05 18
As alert Zero Hedge readers are aware, this week the EURO Politburo is busy debating the dodgy subject of deposit "bail-ins."
The following article very succinctly explains this odious mode of fractal fractional reserve end-game chicanery.
The author encourages all of you to share it with others.
NO BANK DEPOSITS WILL BE SPARED FROM CONFISCATION
By Matthias Chang Esq, futurefastforward.com (with author’s permission)
I challenge ...
Military Says No Presidential Authorization Needed To Quell “Civil Disturbances”
2013 05 17
A recent Department of Defense instruction alters the US code applying to the military’s involvement in domestic law enforcement by allowing US troops to quell “civil disturbances” domestically without any Presidential authorization, greasing the skids for a de facto military coup in America along with the wholesale abolition of Posse Comitatus.
The instruction (embedded at the end of this article), which ...
Ancient Maya Pyramid Destroyed in Belize
2013 05 17
An archaeological group says it plans to take legal action.
Despite its small size, the Caribbean country of Belize is known for a few outstanding characteristics: a spectacular barrier reef, a teeming rain forest, and extensive Maya ruins.
It now has one fewer of those ruins.
A construction company in Belize has been scooping stone out of the major pyramid at the site ...
Ginger: A Warming Herb
2013 05 17
Ginger is an Asian herb that is particularly well known to us in the West. Over time, and with trial and error, its stimulating properties and piquant flavor have been integrated into both our herbal “materia medica” and cuisine.
Brewed as an herbal tea, ginger root is particularly helpful for those people who have underactive stomachs and difficulty producing adequate amounts ...
Australian man dead for 40 minutes revived with new CPR machine
2013 05 17
In an Australian first, doctors have used a new resuscitation technique to revive three patients who were clinically dead for up to an hour.
One of the lucky survivors was Colin Fiedler, 49, who was pronounced dead at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria, after suffering a heart attack, The Herald Sun reported.
Doctors brought Fieldler back to life using a U.S.-made ...
|More News » |