Every human language evolved from ’single prehistoric African mother tongue’
2011-04-19 0:00

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




Related Articles
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

Wotan: The Archetype of the Awakened Aryan Man
2015-08-05 2:50
Wotan/Woden/Odin represents the archetype of the questing and awakened Aryan man, in particular the questing and awakened Germanic man. Whilst it is clear from our studies of Germanic mythology that Wotan was not the original primary God of the Germanic pantheon – that honour rests with Tiw/Tyr/Ziu  – nevertheless, Wotan represents that questing and awakened part of the Aryo-Germanic soul more than any other deity. In this article I wish to focus ...
Worker fired over hospital's hardline vaccination policy
2015-08-04 20:55
Three others suspended under Waikato DHB’s new rule requiring staff to be vaccinated or wear a mask. One worker has now been sacked for defying a new hard-line policy forcing unvaccinated Waikato District Health Board staff to get flu jabs or wear masks. A number of staff at the DHB have come forward with concerns since the Weekend Herald revealed that three ...
Bulgaria keeps out migrants with a 50 mile razor wire fence along Turkish border
2015-08-04 20:27
Keep out: Police chief Ivan Stoyanov at the fenceStretching far into the horizon, this is the super-fence blocking thousands of migrants hoping for a new life in Europe. As police in Calais struggle to contain thousands trying to storm the Eurotunnel in their desperation to get into Britain, the Bulgarian authorities are shoring up their border with Turkey. The barriers around the ...
DF wants video to tell refugees to stay away
2015-08-04 20:59
 “If you want to seek happiness in Europe, Denmark is not the right place.”  That’s the message that the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to send loud and clear to asylum seekers.   DF spokesman Martin Henriksen is calling on Denmark to replicate Australia by releasing a video in English and Arabic that will discourage asylum seekers from making their way ...
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
2015-08-04 18:26
King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone. In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government. The ...
More News »