I vaguely remember reading an article about a book that talked about what the "first language" would have consisted of, but I can't seem to recall what the book was or what the language was called. What is the first language or the origin of language called? The Proto-Proto-Proto-language?

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    If you are open to the idea (and not everyone is), you will want to read about the possible consequences of a population bottle neck in the history of humans, where there were only a few thousand humans. The probably at most spoke 1 to a few languages. Sep 4, 2012 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


The name you're looking for is Proto-World. However, we have no way of knowing whether there actually ever was only a single proto-language (monogenesis) or whether language developed independently multiple times (polygenesis). Some arguments may be more plausible in this regard than others, but it remains speculation. You can find more about this debate in Monogenesis vs. Polygenesis and Do the Khoisan languages resemble the world's first language?

Even if we could assume there was one proto-language to all the world's languages, the comparative method - the only proven methodology in historical linguistics - would not be able to tell us what that language looked like, since it has a limit of some six to ten thousand years time depth. Proto-World would have to have existed at least fifty thousand years ago.

  • Ah, this is great. I think the book I'm thinking of named the language something else, but that may have just been for the purpose of giving it a simpler name. Ill have to check these resources out! Aug 6, 2012 at 11:44
  • Proto-Sapiens perhaps? If there are other names out there I'm curious about those...
    – user444
    Aug 6, 2012 at 12:25
  • It was something that began with an "A." I think Ant- or an- or al- or something. It was something I saw in passing and I forgot to bookmark to look at later, unfortunately. Aug 6, 2012 at 14:10

Are you looking for "Adamic?"

It is thought by some of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths that the "Divine Language" handed down by God would be the Adamic Language. So, it is possible the line you came across was using "Adamic" for Proto-World or the like.

  • Bingo! That's the word! I knew it was something with an A that referred to Proro-World! Sep 3, 2012 at 17:19
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    Good. Just make a note that "Adamic Language" and "Proto-World" do not describe the same thing.
    – dcoreys
    Sep 4, 2012 at 6:24

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