What can we learn about the earliest human language by comparing languages known today?
University of Utah
Looking back from modern languages, what can we find out about the earliest human language? The goal of this paper is to determine what, if anything, can be learned about the earliest human language(s) from evidence extant in modern and older attested languages. It evaluates attempts to arrive at the origins of language through such comparisons. The main finding is negative: because of so much change over such a long time, nothing of the original language(s) survives in modern languages in any form that could be usefully compared across-linguistically to give any indication of the lexical or structural content of the original language(s).