European and Asian Languages Share a Common Ancestor

All Eurasian languages, from Portuguese to French, have formed a “super family” whose roots date back 15, 000 years. Scientists have discovered that billions of people are linguistic “descendants” of one language that was spoken in Southern Europe at the time of the last Ice Age.

Ancient Language Development in Europe

caveman talking on phone

It appears that English, Urdu and Japanese (among others) can be used to trace a language that was used in the region of North-Eastern Russia. The ancient language was the basis for at least seven languages that formed the old Eurasian linguistic “super family”. In the Eurasian region, everyone can trace their linguistic roots back to the group of people that inhabited southeastern Europe more than 15,000 years ago, when the glaciers began retracting.

Scientists have long maintained two opinions about the origin of the Eurasian super family of languages. The problem is that many words evolved so quickly that their exact origin cannot be determined. Most words stand 50% chance of being replaced by another term every two-three thousand years. On the other hand, there are words that weather time much better than others. Pronouns, numerals and adverbs have a proven record of surviving thousands of years.

Evolution of Word Usage

Language EvolutionThere was a study that used a computer model to register the rate of word changes. The idea was to identify words by the number of their recorded changes, thus leading to a unified “layer” of the original Eurasian language. Some of the words that have “survived” the numerous changes throughout centuries include: I, me, man and mother. However, there are also more obscure examples, such as sawdust and worm. Scientists claim that the survival of sawdust, for example, shouldn’t be considered strange at all. From prehistoric times onwards, people have used wood for different activities; sawdust, as a part of wood, was used for insulation, fire-making and the production of fibers. Therefore, the term survived millenniums.

Etymology is an interesting discipline that has allowed people to learn about language, cultural evolution and the ways in which words became extinct. In that respect, the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel can be understood and interpreted as a metaphor for the gradual diversification of languages.