Science Says These are among the Oldest 20 Words in the English Language.
The words that make up this list are called “ultraconserved words,” or words that have remained basically unchanged for a stunning 15,000 years. They were put together by a British research team.
Here Are The 23 Oldest Words In English Language.
The singular form of “you,” Its quite obvious why this word made the list, I mean As soon as language evolved, we would have needed to identify each other, and specifically to refer to the person to whom we were speaking.
Similarly, you’d need to talk about yourself. Plus, what’s the use of language if not to talk about yourself?
The last cry of most soldiers dying on the battlefield is “Mom,” so it’s no wonder that it’s a primal word. It’s also an interesting non-pair on the list: “mother” makes it, but “father” doesn’t.
Human survival has always been predicated on our ability to cooperate. Teamwork in early civilizations wasn’t a nice-to-have — you died without it. “I was really delighted to see ‘to give’ there,” study head Mark Pagel said. “Human society is characterized by a degree of cooperation and reciprocity that you simply don’t see in any other animal. Verbs tend to change fairly quickly, but that one hasn’t.”
As in from a tree, not a dog. Anthropologists suggest this was a particularly important element of early civilizations because it was used to make baskets, rope, and, when boiled in water, medicine. In fact, aspirin was originally willow bark tea.
Likely because in its original form, it helped early humans distinguish the light of day from the black of night. Another interesting fact, “black” made the list but “white” doesn’t.
Light, warmth, security, a way to cook, a way to keep the wild animals away. For a long time (and for many, to this day), fire was the greatest tool for survival.
Makes sense, given how critical fire was.
After our brains, arguably our hand is the most important body part for a human being.
There were all kinds of things we needed to hear: the approaching footsteps of a predator; the sound of prey fleeing; the sound of a baby’s cries. Etc
Unclear why this was so foundational, but perhaps it had to do with another fundamental element required for survival: water.
Wisdom is essential when it comes to survival. The old people in a tribe were respected and listened to, for the simple fact that they had seen more and therefore knew more.
Probably because you’d need to be able to specify what you meant. e.g this bark, this fire, this rock etc.
Works hand in hand with this. So it’s no surprise it made the list.
The list of things you needed to pull was endless: wood, animals, stones, etc.
This is now “your” in modern English. A useful word when asking about things.
“We need more woods for the fire.”
“Who can find worms?”
Because even 15,000 years ago, when you couldn’t hear what your brother had just said about worms but didn’t want to get up from the basket you were weaving, you could always shout, “WHAT?”
“We need worms.”