68

No, it is not. First and foremost, there are many languages recorded long before the advent of Sanskrit, and many religions recorded long before the advent of Hinduism. The oldest surviving texts in Ancient Egyptian are from c. 3000 BCE, while the majority of the Rigveda (the oldest known Sanskrit text) was probably composed between 1500 and 1200 BCE. So ...


60

Or are there any examples of historic languages with far fewer words and being much more basic? Interestingly enough, there are not! Nor are there any examples of "more basic" modern languages (*). In fact, there's a sort of axiom in modern linguistics that all languages with native speakers are equally expressive. Anything that can be expressed in English ...


39

Modern linguistics does not rule out the possibility that all languages of the world descended from a single language. But the mainstream consensus seems to be an agnostic one: Most think that this hypothesis is not testable, at least not with the current data. Languages change. More you try to track those changes back in time using scientific methods (...


37

The idea that language and thought are one and the same, that thoughts cannot exist without language, is sometimes called strong linguistic determinism or the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (*). It's extremely popular among non-linguists, and shows up a lot in fiction: see George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four for one of the ur-examples. The problem is, it ...


31

As an addendum to cyco130's excellent answer, it's easy to see based on simple math that resemblances like the ones you cite can tell us nothing about language relationship. From looking at some of the materials in the website you link to, the procedure seems to be: (a) ignore vowels; (b) treat consonants as interchangeable if they are members of the same ...


27

Sanskrit is not the mother of all languages. Sanskrit is not even the mother of the modern Indo-Aryan languages of the Northern India. Neither it is their father or grandfather. In fact, no language is a direct descendant of Sanskrit. Saying that Sanskrit to the modern Indo-Aryan languages is the same as Latin to the modern Romance languages is absolutely ...


23

The closest natural experiment we can make is to expose an untrained contemporary French speaker to a reading of a text from that period. Conveniently, the poems of Chrétien de Troyes are only a few decades older. I consider myself a relatively educated native speaker of French with basic (but not extensive) training in the relevant fields, and I must say ...


22

Not always. Grimm's Law predicts that Proto-Indo-European *b would turn into Proto-Germanic *p. However, Proto-Indo-European *b is vanishingly rare, and some scholars argue it didn't actually exist in the oldest reconstructable forms of the language (only appearing later). Regardless, though, an ancestral *b is probably the source of a few native Germanic ...


21

The reason "Edenics" isn't taken seriously is that it isn't, by scientific standards, serious. To establish a kinship between two languages, linguists need to have whole series of words that can be traced to a common origin. So, if we did not know Latin, we could reconstruct its lexic from French, Castillian, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Rumanian, etc. ...


21

The numbers are specific to Proto-Indo-European. Scholars aren't sure how PIE was pronounced: after all, there are no native speakers around now, or records from the time. All of the sounds in reconstructed words are educated guesses at best. Some sounds were fairly easy to guess. For instance, there was a sound that seems to have become /t/ in most of PIE's ...


19

There are many possible answers to this question. Historically, the comparative method was born from observing the regularity of phonological and morphological correspondences between Classical European languages (that is, Latin and Greek), Germanic languages and dialects on one hand and, on the other hand, Sanskrit and Avestan (two "oriental" languages ...


18

No language is "more simple" than other languages. Old English had just 2 tenses, present and past, now there are 16 of them, future and future-in-the-past forms developed over the time, the continuous aspect appeared, the perfect appeared, so the verbal system acquired much more forms than it used to have. On the other hand, the nouns lost the gender and ...


18

In Arabic the word for “human being of either sex” is ʼinsān, from the same root as nisāʼ “women”. The usual word for “male human being” is rajul.


18

It's just a coincidence. The Hebrew and Arabic words come from a root B-W-R "to lie fallow"; compare the Arabic verbs بَوَّرَ (bawwara) and بَارَ (baara). The metaphor of "thoughts = crops" isn't an uncommon one, so if someone isn't having any thoughts, their mind is metaphorically lying fallow. The English word is borrowed from Dutch (...


17

Historical Reasons The most of these differences in English seem to be due to historical reasons. "China" seems to refer to either the Qin province or the Qin Dynasty which comes to English via Persian. Similarly, "Japan" seems to have come to English via the Portuguese name for Japan (itself a transliteration of nippon). Finally, "Germany" refers to the ...


17

There is no simple answer. In languages with gender - less than half* - the gender of specific words often varies not just by time but by dialect. Likewise it varies across languages in a language family, for example the Romance languages. (And specifically for cognates, not just for loanwords and neologisms.) Using the modern Romance languages and Latin ...


17

Machu Picchu, from machu pikchu, means "old peak" in Quechua, whereas Macha-puchare from Nepali माछापुच्छ्रे (माछा "fish" + पुच्छर "tail") means "fishtail" (describing the double peak at the summit). Coincidentally, both words are applied to mountains. There is no evidence of genetic relationship between Tibetan and Quechua (or Aymara, which would however be ...


17

These examples show that in some way thought continues even if you temporarily lose language: [neuroanatomist .. was struck with a left hemisphere haemorrage.] Over the course of 3-4 hours, she lost her inner speech, became hemiparetic, and soon realized that her utterances did not make sense, nor did those of others. In her retrospective recall of ...


16

One thing to remember about English spelling is that for the most part it is "frozen", and reflects the Middle English pronunciation. Another thing to remember is that there has never been a standardized spelling for English, and individual judgment, errors, and a variety of dialects have played a large role in how words are spelled. So every question about ...


16

To my understanding, it comes from TH and PH. In Ancient Greek, there were "aspirated" consonants written Θ and Φ, which literally sounded like "t followed by h" and "p followed by h". So when words with these consonants were borrowed into Latin, which didn't have these sounds natively and thus lacked special letters for them, they were respelled as TH and ...


16

Semitic languages don't always preserve consonants perfectly. In fact, I don't think that there is any Semitic language without multiple classes of conjugation to account for irregularities. All Semitic languages have collapsed at least some phonemes, which makes some originally separate roots homophonous. For example, *θ merges with /ʃ/ in Hebrew, but with ...


15

The Greeks had most probably noticed a similarity of their language with Phrygian. Socrates at least did so while speaking to Hermogenes: "Well then, consider whether this pyr is not foreign ; for the word is not easily brought into relation with the Hellenic tongue, and the Phrygians may be observed to have the same word slightly changed, just as they have ...


15

The Trésor de la langue française has most the answer to your question in the etymology section for femme: From Classical Latin femina “female”, then “woman, wife” which competed against the Latin words mulier “woman” which no longer survives in French (contrast with Italian moglie, Spanish mujer) except in the archaic form moillier “wife, woman” (which ...


15

There is an Indo-Uralic hypothesis, but perhaps the hypothesis that Indo-European and Uralic and several other families are related is more widely known (while still definitely controversial) as the Nostratic hypothesis. Yet another variant is Eurasiatic. I'm afraid you will have to make up your mind, because evidence for these relationships goes back to a ...


14

The answer is that we do not know (and possibly never will). There are a number of theories, such as Eurasiatic mentioned in Anixx's answer, and Nostratic (I wasn't aware that there was a theory that includes both of these), but none of them is widely accepted by linguists.


14

They were standardized at some point, in the 19th-20th centuries, but many languages still keep their own ancient punctuation, e.g. the Armenian period is :, the Armenian question mark is ՞ which is put above the last vowel letter of the question word, the Greek question mark is ;, Spanish uses the upside-down question mark ¿ at the beginning of ...


14

As @user6726 said in their comment, double negation is a fairly common feature of many languages. Answering, "What is the reason?", there are two aspects: "What is the reason?" in meaning, "why does it present in Bulgarian, but is absent in some other languages?" — because modern Bulgarian is on a different Phase of Jespersen's Cycle. "What is the reason?" ...


14

This question seems confused. For one thing, you never define what you mean by “such languages”. A precise formulation of the concepts is important. No reasonable linguist would support the idea that, e.g. the resemblance between English “brother” and Latin “frater” (and contemporary French “frère” etc.) is just due to chance. There are too many parallel ...


14

As you noticed, there is something common between modern Romance and Germanic languages which is not shared by other Indo-European languages. It does not come from their ancestral languages (Latin and Proto-Germanic), but to the fact that they are part of a sprachbund, called Standard Average European (SAE). Many characteristics of SAE are obviously absent ...


14

The main problem with these particular reconstructions is that the author of "etymonline" does not use diacritics. In fact, there is a very significant difference between *g and *ǵ (they develop differently in the “kentum” and “satem” languages), and also between *a and *ā (or, if you prefer, *h₂e and *eh₂). The reconstructions in “etymonline” are wrong, ...


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