Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A living language

The Bible records for us in Genesis that originally all people spoke the same language.  Genesis 11:1 says the whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary.  However when they all began to build a huge tower to try and reach into the heavens and allow them to take control of their destiny (Genesis 11) the Bible records that God confused their language so they had trouble communicating with each other and as a result, they scattered across the whole world.

Do researchers and scholars who study the origins of language support the biblical explanation?  In essence, they do.  Here is an outline of what many scholars would say although there is of course always differing opinions.

"There are about 5000 languages spoken in the world today (a third of them in Africa), but scholars say there are only about twenty families.   Languages are linked to each other by shared words or sounds or grammatical constructions. The theory is that the members of each linguistic group have descended from one language, a common ancestor. In many cases that original language is judged by the experts to have been spoken in surprisingly recent times - as little as a few thousand years ago."  (This research supports what the Bible tells us.)

The most widespread group of languages today is the Indo-European, spoken by half the world's population. This entire group, ranging from Hindi and Persian to Norwegian and English, is believed to descend from the language of a tribe of nomads roaming the plains of eastern Europe and western Asia (in modern terms centering on Ukraine) as recently as about 3000 BC.

From about 2000 BC people speaking Indo-European languages begin to spread through Europe, eventually reaching the Atlantic coast and the northern shores of the Mediterranean. They also penetrate far into Asia - occupying the Iranian plateau and much of India."

This Indo-European group of languages was the ancestor of our language (English)

"Another linguistic group, of significance in the early history of west Asia and still of great importance today, is the Semitic family of languages. These also are believed to derive from the language of just one tribal group, possibly nomads in southern Arabia.

By about 3000 BC Semitic languages are spoken over a large tract of desert territory from southern Arabia to the north of Syria."

Note that this language may well be the closest to the language spoken before the scattering of people at Babel.  (where the word babble comes from).   This tower was built somewhere in the Middle East.


English is a living language.  It is constantly evolving.  Words are disappearing or being created and meanings change over time.

Have you ever wondered why nearly every country speaks English as either its main or its secondary language?

Have you ever wondered where our words came from?

English is a language that has evolved over many years from a range of other languages.  As the British came in contact with other people they borrowed words to explain ideas they did not have a word for.  This happened as people invaded England and as British explorers and traders traveled the world and continues to happen as we share media across the world.  (Internet, movies, music etc)

This old film charts for you the way a range of words entered our language-  words we see as common today.


This is a much quicker view of the various influences on our language

A Powerpoint to view showing some ways the English language has changed.


http://aggslanguage.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/words-in-flux/  a site showing some change in words

a site showing some old english words and their meanings


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