Every human language evolved from ’single prehistoric African mother tongue’
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
The Ring Of The Nibelungs
Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King (also known as Ring of the Nibelungs, Die Nibelungen, Curse of the Ring, and Sword of Xanten) is a 2004 German television film directed by Uli Edel and starring Benno Fürmann, Alicia Witt, Kristanna Loken, and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the Norse mythology story Völsungasaga and the German epic poem Nibelungenlied, ...
Google Street View Shows NAACP Bombing a Hoax
Caught in the act: NAACP passing off old soot marks as new in ‘bomb’ hoax
NAACP Colorado Chapter President Henry D. Allen Jr. has been caught in the act of passing off old soot marks as new damage from the recent ‘explosion’ at the Colorado Springs chapter headquarters.
Although Gotnews.com has previously remarked on the minimal damage as reported by the ...
The TSA Wants To Read Your Facebook Posts And Check Out Your Purchases Before It Will Approve You For PreCheck
The TSA is disappointed that so few Americans have opted out of its bottle-tossing, package-groping screenings by signing up for its PreCheck program. For a few years now, the TSA has been selling travelers' civil liberties back to them, most recently for $85 a head, but it's now making a serious push to increase participation. The TSA can't do it ...
What Happens To Privacy When The Internet Is In Everything?
This week Google’s Eric Schmidt was on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he suggested that the future Internet will be, in one sense, invisible — because it will be embedded into everything we interact with.
“The Internet will disappear,” he predicted (via The Hollywood Reporter). “There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things ...
Harvard Professor: Government Mosquito Drones will Extract Your DNA
"Privacy is dead," academic tells Davos elite
Harvard Professor Margo Seltzer warned that miniature mosquito drones will one day forcibly extract your DNA on behalf of the government and insurance companies as she told elitists at the World Economic Forum in Davos that privacy was dead.
Seltzer, a professor in computer science at Harvard University, told attendees, “Privacy as we knew it ...
|More News » |