70

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 ...


64

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 ...


46

Ancient Greek word ΣΑΣΤΗΡ (sastēr) From 1890 to 1899, in pieces, a white marble slab was found by archaeologists in the ruins of an Ancient Greek colony Chersonesus, Greek Χερσόνησος (Khersónēsos), on the Crimean Peninsula, established in the 6th century BC. The slab (photo) was inscribed with a text in Ancient Greek being the civic oath of the Chersonesites ...


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 (...


38

There are many such words. Even for a really well-attested dead language like Latin such words are known, e.g., aurichalc, haematopus, or cortumio (all three examples taken from the answers to this question on latin.se)


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 ...


33

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 ...


31

A surprising example is that one of the words in the "Lord's Prayer", one of the most significant prayers of the Christian tradition, has an unknown meaning. The original Greek word is epiousios (ἐπιούσιος) and has traditionally been translated as "daily" - but that translation has no particularly strong foundation. It occurs in the ...


30

From the source: Full writing-systems appear to have been invented independently at least four times in human history: first in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) where cuneiform was used between 3400 and 3300 BC, and shortly afterwards in Egypt at around 3200 BC. By 1300 BC we have evidence of a fully operational writing system in late Shang-dynasty China. ...


28

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 ...


26

The origin of grammatical gender is not necessarily well understood, but presumably it originated like any other inflectional feature and then became associated with gender when it was noticed that some prominent things of one natural gender fell into one paradigm and things of another into another, upon which those paradigms might have been generalised to ...


26

In Genesis 6:14, Noah's Ark is made of עצי גפר (gopher wood). "Gopher" is just a phonetic transliteration of the ancient Hebrew גֹּפֶר. No one knows what it means, except that it is presumably some kind of wood.


23

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. ...


23

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 ...


22

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 ...


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 ...


21

Greek αι (/aj/) was regularly borrowed into Latin as ae (/aj/*). In Latin, ae eventually monophthongized into /ɛː/; in Vulgar Latin/Proto-Romance, vowel length was lost and this eventually merged with /ɛ/ or /e/. As a result, Modern French regularly renders Latin ae < AGrk αι with é /e/, as in éther < αἰθήρ as mentioned by Arnaud Fournet. (Old French ...


19

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.


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

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 (...


18

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 ...


17

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 ...


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

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

When a word can be reconstructed to a proto-language, it is generally assumed that there was such a word in the proto-language. Then if the meaning of the word can also be reconstructed, it is generally assumed that there is such a word with that meaning in the proto-language. Since a word meaning "axle" is reconstructable to at least late PIE, it ...


15

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 ...


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