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Did All Languages Originate From Africa?

Did All Languages Originate From Africa?
african language
(Last Updated On: July 18, 2020)

If there is one thing we don’t love at all, it is not knowing something. Scientists have spent years trying to find out the origins of human life on earth, but even after all this time, they don’t have any concrete data. They cannot say with absolute certainty how the earliest humans lived, what they ate, and how much sleep they needed each night. Some people have come to terms with the fact that we will never have the answers to these questions, while some keep on trying to do the impossible and that is figuring out the past. These people think that if they tried something different from everyone else, they might get the answer no one else could find. Quentin D. Atkinson is one such person who has tried something different.

Did All Languages Originate from Africa?

For a long time, linguists have tried to figure out how and where languages originated. Every family of languages has a mother tongue which was made up by linguists based on their studies. There is no written proof available for tongues that were spoken 10,000 years ago. But despite that, linguists had managed to trace back the history of languages and their family trees to 9,000 years. It was known in the linguistics industry that it wasn’t possible to study tongues that are older than 9,000 years. But a professor from Auckland may have proved everyone wrong with a study.

Professor Quentin D. Atkinson is a biologist and works at the University of Auckland. He recently published a report in the journal known as Science. His report suggests that all languages may have originated from African language. A debate has started in the linguistics industry over this report. But the findings of professor Atkinson are solid enough that they cannot be dismissed straightaway.


Method of Study:

Professor Atkinson used a different way of studying languages than other linguists. He did not place his focus on words. He made phonemes his primary focus of study. They are the distinct units of sound in every language which are considered its building blocks. Without them, no tongue will have a proper shape or structure. Professor Atkinson used mathematics to study the languages and ended up discovering a pattern in five hundred tongues around the world. He concluded that the farther languages moved from African language, the lesser phonemes they ended up with.

Evidence in Favor:

African language

There is plenty of evidence available to suggest that the study of professor Atkinson may be correct. For instance, African languages are spoken in Africa have as many as 100 phonemes, while some have even more. But when you migrate from the continent, you notice the changes. English, for instance, only has 44 phonemes. And if you go even farther down the route, you will find the Hawaiian tongue only has 13.

This study is also in accordance with DNA records. Fossil evidence also supports the theory of professor Atkins. The skeletal remains of the modern humans were found in Africa. It is also worth noticing that the genetic diversity decreases when we move away from African language, while it is the greatest on the continent. This is why it is not hard to imagine that languages will follow the same pattern as humans. They traveled with humans, which is how they ended up being in various parts of the world.

For now, the linguistics community is discussing the study of professor Atkinson. It may take them a while to reach a conclusion but so far, the evidence only suggests that the professor was on to something. It is only a matter of time when his study will become a well-known fact.

Advantages of the Study:

For a long time, the people studying languages were limited in their thinking by the laws they had put up. But with the help of this study, the history of languages can be traced back to 100,000 years. This will help us get a better look at the way various tongues progressed. A lot of mysteries surrounding tongues will also be solved and we will be able to classify them in a better way. There are plenty of confusions today about various languages families and their connection with each other but if we can learn about their history, we can get to develop a better understanding about each of them.

By using phonemes as the focus of his study, professor Atkinson has given linguists the idea to follow the same method in the future for better results. This will help them build connections and get a grasp on different tongues pretty quickly. By pairing these newly discovered facts with what we know of our genetic diversity, we can learn a lot of new things about our ancestors. We can also increase our reach into the past and as a result, make better predictions for the future.

It will be a while before the advantages of professor Atkinson’s study become apparent. But those interested in studying the history of humanity will eventually unlock the key to making a successful society on the way. And that’s our ultimate goal with all the reports regarding humans and the way they used to live. We want to be able to live in harmony in today’s world while staying in touch with our roots in the past. Once every language is discovered along with its speakers, we will be a lot closer to developing a full understanding of the human life.

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