The history of languages

Linguistics is a beautiful thing and one of much fascination for historians and other experts around the world. Have you ever wondered about their origin? Read on to get some facts.

Early History

For centuries, humans have wondered about the origins of language and yet nobody is any the wiser due to lack of agreement on the topic as well as evidence.

Evidence can be found in fossils as well as studies of language learning and comparisons between the languages of humans and animals. Thus, this a long and complex process which would draw on the work of scientists, archaeologists, psychologists and more.

The lack of evidence has meant that many experts shy away from this subject. In fact, in 1866, the Linguistics Society of Paris banned any debates on the topic.

Ever since, it has been considered one of the most difficult topics faced by science.

Modern Theories

Everybody from Darwin to Chomsky has had their say on this topic. Theories range from children copying their mothers to apes producing sounds which have evolved into language.

Another theory states that as the early humans developed tools, language also developed as gestures could no longer be used due to hands being occupied with tools.

Fun Facts About Languages

  • There are over 5000 languages in the world today
  • The most widespread group of languages spoken in the world today is Indo-European, ranging from Hindi and Persian to Norwegian.
  • More than 50% of the global population speaks more than one language.
  • The UN has 6 official languages and the EU has over 20

If you’re a lover of linguistics, check out the wide range of language courses TLG offers.


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