Language originated in Africa, according to research
As the title may suggest, a study recently found that all language originated in Africa. This has caused some controversy amongst linguists, as it had been believed almost impossible to trace language back that far, because words change so quickly.
But that’s where this study differs: Dr. Quentin D. Atkinson, who conducted the study, did not look at words as a marker, but phonemes. He found that the number of phonemes used by a language decreases, the further from Africa it is. For example, some African languages have over 100 phonemes, while Hawaiian has only 13. This hypothesis fits in with existing knowledge about genetic diversity – which also decreases with distance from Africa.
Many linguists look suspiciously upon claims to linguistic discoveries this early in time, but it seems that people are starting to pay attention to Dr Atkinson’s exciting claims. This could be the first time that we have been able to see a glimpse of language’s roots, and it raises some interesting new ideas.
What do you think of this new research? Do you have a unique insight into these findings that you’d like to share? Leave a comment and tell us what you make of it all.