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
Devil’s Deal: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Already Signed Pact with ISIS Prior to Haines Beheading
2014 09 17
While Washington considers appropriating half a billion in funds to the Syrian rebels, we now learn that opposition groups the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al Qaeda affiliate ‘al Nusra Front’, have officially aligned themselves with ISIS…
Despite grand words by US President Obama and British PM David Cameron, here’s what’s really behind their plan to bomb ISIS in Syria…
In a ...
World War III for Dummies
2014 09 16
A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding the Present World Situation.
1998 - 2000
Powerful elites and influential think tanks forecast a coming period of American aggression. Zbigniew Brzezinski speaks for the Globalist faction of the western PRC (Predatory Ruling Class) in ’The Grand Chessboard’, a book in which he openly advocates for bolder American action in dominating the Eurasian land mass.
During this ...
Rotherham child-sex victim confronts her alleged abuser in the street... but SHE is arrested
2014 09 16
A victim of Rotherham’s child sex abuse scandal confronted a man she says groomed her - but was left shocked when she was the one arrested.
The woman was shocked when she saw the man walking through the town’s centre on Friday and decided to challenge him over the allegations.
But she was tackled by two police officers and pushed up against ...
Slaves of Charleston - Beyond Wealth of Jewish South Carolina
2014 09 15
Founded in 1749 in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Beth Elohim Synagogue is one of the very earliest synagogues in America. While other synagogues and congregations are also now a part of Charleston city life, Beth Elohim Synagogue is the oldest one in the area and serves as the repository for certain historical artifacts of Jewish life in the city. ...
Martian meteorite yields more evidence of the possibility of life on Mars
2014 09 15
A tiny fragment of Martian meteorite 1.3 billion years old is helping to make the case for the possibility of life on Mars, say scientists.
The finding of a ‘cell-like’ structure, which investigators now know once held water, came about as a result of collaboration between scientists in the UK and Greece. Their findings are published in the latest edition ...
|More News » |