According to a new study of the history of human language, it turns out our ancestors of long ago actually spoke the way Master Yoda does in a movie series you might be familiar with, Star Wars.
Does George Lucas know something we don’t?
New Scientist writes:
What form did the first human language take? According to some linguists, all known languages descend from a proto-language, perhaps dating back to the first behaviourally modern humans 50,000 years ago. But little else is known about how our ancestors spoke
. Now two maverick linguists say they have clues.
Merritt Ruhlen of Stanford University in California, and Murray Gell-Mann, at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico created a family tree for 2200 languages, living and dead, based on how they use similar sounds for the same meanings. Most modern languages use subject-verb-object sentences: “I see the dog”, while most dead ones, such as Latin, go subject-object-verb – “I the dog see”. On Ruhlen and Gell-Mann’s tree, subject-verb-object languages always descend from subject-object-verb languages, but never the other way around. “This tells us that the putative ancestral language had subject-object-verb word order,” says Ruhlen. However, mainstream linguists are dubious about the tree’s validity.
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