Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finding the Origin of a Language

 There are more than five thousand languages known to be spoken in the world. Is there a common beginning to all of these?  Has there ever been a time when only one language was spoken? According to bible, the people of Babylon started building a tower that would reach up to heaven. This was so offensive to God that he obliterated the unity of their language, creating a language that was not understood by the people. Scholars through time have tried to trace the languages to a mother tongue.  By studying the world's great language families, such as Indo-European, the family that includes English This source connects different language families.  And by tracing these commonnalities, such as Indo-European, and by tracing the Indo-European languages back, from which all of the language families have derived.
There are some obvious connections among languages. In Arabic and Hebrew the counting system in each language are similar. Some numbers sound almost identical.
 Sanskrit resembles in certain ways, Greek and Latin and other languages. Certain similarities are striking apparent. The numbers, in English, Latin, Greek and Sanskrit are noticeably alike in all the languages.
By finding patterns, different languages can be grouped together as members of a language family. Finding organized similarities between these languages in areas of their grammar, similarities in their sounds, in their inflections, in the syntax of the language is what linguists faced with. And the similarities have to be very specific, and they have to link to show that these languages form a family.
With a comparative method, linguists have been able to establish the connections among a group of languages from Iceland to India. This group of about one hundred languages is called the Indo-European Family of Languages. Each of these languages can be traced to one of ten individual languages.
 The subgroups of families, that are still spoken today, are Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Celtic, Italic, Albanian, Hellenic, Armenian, and lastly, Indo-Iranian. By looking at the Germanic family, it can be seen how it has evolved into different languages, until find the ones we use today, like Swedish, Danish, English, and Dutch. By studying all the languages in this group, linguists can narrow it down to a mother tongue.
 Linguists look at the current language, and try and find other languages that are related to it, that descend from the same predecessor, and by this act of comparison, try and trace back through time. This is an enormous endeavor, because languages can change in very unpredictable ways, and linguists have to look beneath the surface and find the unity that the languages had before they diverged from each other.


  1. An example would help the reader. Nice blog layout, I like the color scheme.

  2. So the answer to the question posed in your introduction is NO. Thanks

  3. Be careful of run-on sentences with "and" otherwise I like the image to the right to the page, symbolizing caverns of the mind. Makes one think of the mind as such. I like to think of the mind as a series of connected electric currents that produce information.