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English May Have Retained Words From a 15,000 Year-Old Ice Age Language

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posted on May, 15 2013 @ 10:26 AM

…frequently used words can persist for generations, even millennia, and similar sounds and meanings often turn up in very different languages. The existence of these shared words, or cognates, has led some linguists to suggest that seemingly unrelated language families can be traced back to a common ancestor. Now, a new statistical approach suggests that peoples from Alaska to Europe may share a linguistic forebear dating as far back as the end of the Ice Age, about 15,000 years ago.

Pagel and his co-workers took a first step by building a statistical model based on Indo-European cognates. Incorporating only the frequency of a word's use and its part of speech (noun, verb, numeral, etc.)—and ignoring its sound— the model could predict how long the word persisted through time. Reporting in Nature in 2007, they found that most words have about a 50% chance of being replaced by a completely different word every 2000 to 4000 years. Thus the Proto-Indo-European wata, winding its way through wasser in German, water in English, and voda in Russian, became eau in French. But some words, including I, you, here, how, not, and two, arereplaced only once every 10,000 or even 20,000 years.

btw: WA is the root of 'water' ( as in: ak WAH, and WA-dr). They're the same word, Eau being the sound of "W" in WAH. The way these cognates sound should have been taken into account, IMO

The new study, appearing today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, makes an even bolder statement. The researchers broadened the hunt to cognates from seven major language families, including Indo-European, Eskimo, Altaic (comprising many Oriental languages), and Chukchi-Kamchatkan (a group of non-Russian languages around Siberia), which have been proposed to form an ancient superfamily dubbed Eurasiatic. Again, using only the word's frequency and part of speech, the model successfully predicted that a core group of about 23 very common words, used about once per 1000 words in everyday speech, not only persists within each language group, but also sounds similar to the corresponding words in other families. The word thou, for example, has similar sound and meaning among all seven language families. Cognates include teor tu in Indo-European languages,t`i in proto-Altaic, and turi in proto-Chukchi-Kamchatkan. The words not, that,we, who, andgive were cognates in five families, and nouns and verbs including mother, hand, fire, ashes, worm,hear, and pull, were shared by four. Going by the rate of change of these cognates, the model suggests that these words have remained in a similar form since about 14,500 years ago, thus supporting the existence of an ancient Eurasiatic language and its now far-flung descendants.

The article at the source gives voice to skeptical concerns.

I don't know about y'all; but I can't help but see this as further proof of a globe-trotting culture flourishing at the end of the last great ice age.


posted on May, 15 2013 @ 11:12 AM
reply to post by EzekielsWheel

Not to go too far off topic, but the last thing you said.. I think there was a great flood and I think it was rapid ice melt from glaciers. I recently saw something about global meteor strikes around 12,500 years ago.. That energy turned into heat using friction. That heat turned ice into water.. I think a lot of things changed around that time.

When plato was apparently talking to some Egyptian priest he was told that the great flood was only the last of 4 or 5 Great cataclysms.

Language pattern seems to be a good way of linking past and present. It's something I think about a lot. Even just in plain modern English there are words we use that have lost their literal meaning in favor of symbolic meaning.

People take for granted words like Waterfall. It means Water Fall.. Hahaha... Over time words lose their literal meaning and are only symbolic of a certain thing. Because these new people didn't experience the certain thing directly they use the words only in direct reference, never knowing that the words themselves hold meaning..

I am not in the right state of mind or I could explain better. I always talk about words as being limiting and the most freeing potential there is.. There is no vocabulary for many experiences I have had, and yet at the same time I just used words to express there are no words.. Quite useful...

Whatever civilization was here before I see some of it's roots.. I have to say English seems to be the most expressive in detailed ways. German is good too. Other languages are better at expressing feeling or emotions. There has to be a split there for some reason. I used to whine about learning Spanish. "It doesn't have all the words I want to say!" Hahaha.. Nothing does have all the words I want to say...

What is it called, etimology? Is that a word? It's something like that, the study of words and their origin.. I'm a math geek but more and more I want to know where meaning was derived from. I feel like just looking at words I can see more hidden history than the next man.

Maybe I can think of what I was actually trying to say in my next post.

The Words escape me.

edit on 5/15/2013 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 11:33 AM
reply to post by Dustytoad

It's "etymology" so you were very close. I find etymology to be a fascinating subject because it's one of those things that should be a "well duh..." type of thing as languages don't necessarily die. They evolve and can be preserved like how Latin fell out of use but we still see signs of it today in every day language as most of our words are rooted in it. They can connect us to where we've been and who were our neighbors kind of like the Na-Dene language group here in the US being quite possibly and distinctly related to the Yeniseisian language group in Siberia from a long, long time ago. It would not surprise me in the least that there are even earlier common ancestors for languages for this very reason.

Nor do the flood myths surprise me either. Tremendous floods did occur at the end of the last ice age and this would be logically preserved in the mythologies (aka oral histories) of the peoples who experienced them. I know that here in the US, we had the tremendous Missoula floods that were a result of glacial melt being trapped behind an ice dam that repeatedly broke. That flood was tremendous enough to move boulders the size of vans for miles. While I don't believe that the entire world flooded, I do believe that the local worlds that people lived in probably did experience some significant floods. The world would've been, through perception, infinitely smaller back in those days so walking (or rowing) for days in the remains of a massive flood would have easily seemed like the world had indeed flooded. I view these myths as being remnants of tales from the end of the last Ice Age.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 12:07 PM

Originally posted by EzekielsWheel
I don't know about y'all; but I can't help but see this as further proof of a globe-trotting culture flourishing at the end of the last great ice age.

It's a standard scientific view that the human race was spreading over the globe at that stage, so in that sense the idea of a "globe-trotting culture" is commonplace.
What this study gives us is a greater sense that they had already learned to use language when they started off, and that they began with a common language.
A sort of scientific version of the Babel story.

edit on 15-5-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 12:08 PM
reply to post by EzekielsWheel

What the new study really does is drive another nail in the coffin of Out Of Africa theory,
along with the newly accepted dene-yeniseian connection.

Archaeology, human genetics, linguistics, and folklore studies often yield what seem to be conflicting evidence of human prehistory when in fact they tell different parts of the same story. This presentation unites evidence from disparate branches of the study of human prehistory in a new synthesis to explain how the Dene-Yeniseian linguistic hypothesis fits with what other branches of science have revealed about the peopling of the Americas from North Asia in the late Pleistocene and Early Holocene.

Linguistic evidence is falling in line with genetics to show a new world origin for culturally modern humans.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 12:53 PM
reply to post by punkinworks10

Largest core problem for any "out of the New World Theory" is a lack of evidence. Although we have suffered from the whole "Clovis First" issue archaeologically speaking in the US here, there have been two possible early man sites that have been proposed--Calico Hills and Hueyatlaco. Both have potential dates of being around 220,000 to 250,000 ya but both also have distinct possibilities of bioturbation being either a. the source of the proposed "tools" (Calico) or b. presence of tools in the midst of much older stratified layers. Both are rightly controversial. I had the distinct pleasure of being a friend of Dr. Steen-McIntyre for a while. Ginger is a lovely lady and I got to talk with her about her tephra analysis of the Hueyatlaco site--a fact that made a couple of individuals who published books on the subject very, very nervous because there is a problem there. Out of deference to Ginger, I won't say what but I will say this though--don't trust Cremo as far as you can throw him.

Even if they did in fact have dates that were from this time period, it still wouldn't upset the "out of Africa" theory as the bones and artifacts found in Africa are much, much older. Homo Erectus' presence in the world was as far as China with dates as old as 750,000 ya. In Africa, they have findings that are a million years old or older. Neither Hueyatlaco or Calico can touch that. Our ancestors did travel about a great deal and the Na-Dene were nomadic hunter-gatherers. Some back and forth should be expected as they would have followed animal migrations.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 03:05 PM
Interesting but very speculative.

Given the nature of words there is no way to determine if the theory is correct, its linguistic 'maybe stuff'.

Punkinworks I don't understand how you get 'OOF is dead', from this linguistic paper?

WhiteAlice said

I will say this though--don't trust Cremo as far as you can throw him.

It's always better when dealing with Cremo to stay at least twenty-five meters from him and his books at all times, any contact with either lowers one cognitive abilities.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 03:16 PM
reply to post by WhiteAlice

That's awsome you knew Dr. Steen-McIntyre.
First , calico hills, I have recently read the literature, available to me, on the site and its clear that site does show an extremely old human presence. The three papers I read that tried to detract from the site almost comical in their flawed logic and methodology. Aside from the fact that some of the compelling peices come from securely dated layers, there is the presence of red ocher, which is not naturally occuring at the site. The presence of materials only found in Colorado, very near another anomolously old site, and only workable tool stone shows up in the assemblage, to me that clearly shows a human hand.
An friend of mine, who is a geologist that specializes in alluvial soils, consulted on a dig in the desert, he would disclose the location as it has yet to be published. The site has dated human occupation from 18k bp and much older. He was very careful to not give any real details but he did say that the dating goes way beyond anything currently accepted in the new world. He confirmed these dates by identifying a know volcanic eruption in the area, finding that ash layer and basically counting the layers back.
Then there is the amateur archeologists who possible auchelean tools near phoenix, that were confirmed by an old soles lithics specialist, who linked them to tools used at know HE sites.
And the whole Clovis first isn't even am argument any more, with so many site that predate Clovis.
Here in central cal is the Wit Clovis site, that has 17000 year old human remains and shows a transition from chipped bone tools, through points from the western stemmed tradition the finally Clovis shows up about 11k years ago. I have also found a reference to paper from the early 80's detailin a 50k year old burial in fresno county Ca.
Add that to burnham OK, where there is a 50 k year old kill site , topper , cactus hill and Meadowcroft , its obvious that Clovis first is fatally flawed.
The site I linked in my previous post is awsome, even you don't subscribe to the hosts ideas, it has an amazing collection of peer reviewed current papers on anthropology, genetics and linguistics.

I am leaning toward a very early entrance by HE, or HSN and HsD, with a speciation event in gulf of Mexico area, with a back migration into eurasia, or a very early entrance by physically modern Eurasian humans> 100k with a back migration.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 03:26 PM

Originally posted by WhiteAlice
Even if they did in fact have dates that were from this time period, it still wouldn't upset the "out of Africa" theory as the bones and artifacts found in Africa are much, much older. Homo Erectus' presence in the world was as far as China with dates as old as 750,000 ya. In Africa, they have findings that are a million years old or older. Neither Hueyatlaco or Calico can touch that. Our ancestors did travel about a great deal and the Na-Dene were nomadic hunter-gatherers. Some back and forth should be expected as they would have followed animal migrations.

Much of the confusion, to my mind, is the linear framework of time that we are so conditioned to accept or as much, expect, this is then transposed to little arrows denoting migratory paths. It would be far more explanatory, again to my mind, if we could look at movements in terms of spheres of influence. Certainly it would make the maps look very 'busy', but much like pebbles dropped into water, it would better demonstrate how those spheres have greater influence, over a geographical landscape, as well as how some, having exhausted themselves, retreat back, in ever decreasing circles, until nothing exists. Or the reverse, depending upon the conditions, environmental or otherwise. The period preceding that that the OP refers to being an excellent example, whereby the glacial maximum caused a greater concentration of animals, and subsequently humans to co-exist in certain areas, in terms of the Northern Hemisphere of Eurasia, that was largely to the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. This particular concentration, followed by the glacial retreat, and subsequent, somewhat rapid re-expansion, seems to have provided a catalyst for all manner of human technological developments.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 04:09 PM

Originally posted by Hanslune
It's always better when dealing with Cremo to stay at least twenty-five meters from him and his books at all times, any contact with either lowers one cognitive abilities.

Or worse. I honestly don't have much good to say about any of the entire lot in terms of their bodies of work though both Dr. Schoch and Graham were really quite nice from my experience. Just one shouldn't forget that the latter writes his books to sell books. Cremo, in contrast, will always hold a special, special place in my heart.

reply to post by punkinworks10

She hasn't passed, has she? I know her husband, David, passed away last December but I've not talked to her since 2005 and his online obit makes no mention of whether she is surviving or not. I only had the pleasure of conversing with Ginger via email and phone. At the time, I was helping with Dr. Schoch's website and moderating for Graham Hancock so got a chance to meet all sorts of interesting people. Ginger is a lovely person albeit with some odd ideas. Overall, she's the kind of person that makes you really want to protect her. She was definitely wounded by the fall out due to Hueytlaco. I do have an email from her talking about her experiences as a young female academic in the time that she authorized to be released on the internet. Just not sure how the mods would feel about it although she specifically authorized it to be released. The email talks about her, Cynthia Irwin Williams and J.L. Lorenzo a little bit. I'll clip out this little bit because it shows her angst even after so many years:

Dr. Virginia Steen-McIntyre:

If you can find out why I was vanquished from academia, or what specific part of my Hueyatlaco research causes problems, let me know. I¹ve been asking for decades. So far, no one has had the courtesy to tell me.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 05:29 PM
reply to post by EzekielsWheel

I don't know about y'all; but I can't help but see this as further proof of a globe-trotting culture flourishing at the end of the last great ice age.


You'll never know for sure. This is one of those things you'll never find an answer to.

posted on May, 15 2013 @ 08:17 PM
Similar ideas can be expounded from a good look at ancient religions. You need to back before both Islam and Christianity to see this. Much of evidence has been destroyed by forces under the control of these two religions.

To point you in the right direction look at the similarities between Greek and Roman religions. Different names but same spread of Gods even to where they live and how they travel. OK, these two are geographically right next door to each other it seems sort of natural. Now compare them to the Norse Gods. Hmm, very similar.

Now take a much wider view and you find the concept of Gods living in a sort of Heaven being central to most religions. Heaven and Angel type creatures exist all over including Buddhism. Even the creation mythology of the bible can be traced and is near identical beliefs common thousands of year previous.

It seems to me that almost all religions came from a common belief and most support the Gods exist 'above' ie, not on earth.


posted on May, 15 2013 @ 08:36 PM
Why do we say to "cross" an ocean, or to take a "baring," or why does "arc" describe the track of a star across the sky?

posted on May, 16 2013 @ 12:37 AM
Those science head atheists and bible thumpers need to pull their collective heads out of their butts.

Another story presented in the bible seems to find a scientific backing towards it legitimacy. Can't take every story in the old testament for its literal meaning...and you can't ignore what it's trying to tell us...which is our past.

Edit: If you find God offensive, replace it with Alien...then read the book. It should make more sense. Also remember that ancient man was a primitive man with no understanding of physics or biology.
edit on 16-5-2013 by ChuckNasty because: edit as above...a tad off topic. I'm not trying to force religion down anyone's throat.

posted on May, 16 2013 @ 02:09 AM
AHHAHAH In Russia the word for water is Voda? It seems to be missing the k!

posted on May, 16 2013 @ 07:22 AM
reply to post by EzekielsWheel

Their methodology is a little suspect.

There's a recent "fashionable" trend in computer science to analyze a group of words and then apply statistical methods to determine an "older" language. It's not entirely accurate (80%) because the computer program tends to work from word lists and not phrases (unlike linguists, who work with phrases and sound units), and after awhile the computer models seem to be a case of "I want this to prove this point" and then cherry picking the data.

The reason that I find this dubious is the "signal to noise" problem. Language sounds and meaning change over time, even when people are relatively isolated. This shows up when people who speak the same language get isolated for a few hundred years and then can't understand people from a different area who speak the same language (Chumash is a good example of this. The American dialect is difficult to understand for someone from the more isolated areas of Scotland (and Americans and British sometimes need subtitles when someone's speaking with a very thick Scottish accent (I've seen this on the BBC channel. Not making this up.))

Eventually the "noise" will overwhelm the original pattern (modern English to Dark Ages German) and as more languages are added into the mix, dilutes it further.

BTW, the "Flood stories" are NOT universal. They only appear in cultures where there are floods (so there was no such story in Alaskan mythology until the missionaries brought Bible stories.) In many cases the "flood story" that's being claimed for a culture is very clearly a variant of the missionary teachings (which means they didn't originally have a Flood story and picked it up only after the missionaries came.)

posted on May, 16 2013 @ 10:08 AM
As someone who lives in England I can verify that some of the words from prehistoric times ARE used and that the intellect that goes with them hasn't diminished in any shape or form.
We still have neandethals living here in the UK.
Just looking at some of the people today as I walked down the high street, modern 'prehistoric' man is flourishing nicely. "Awright mate? wotchu been upta? Oh beeen down da social eh? fanci a bee-arr?" is what I heard this afternoon, so this thread is quite appropriate.

On a side line the English language is open to change 'By my lady' became 'bloody' as sycophants and servants wanted to save a bit of time and so shortened it to appease their masters.
edit on 16/5/13 by DataWraith because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2013 @ 01:11 PM
reply to post by Byrd

Flood stories are definitely not universal and, overall, there is no evidence whatsoever for a global flood. I think the frequency of flood myths is more likely due to the occasional, localized catastrophic flood that may occur. I mentioned the Missoula Floods in my prior post and they may actually have a mythological reporting in the Kalapuya Tribe that resided in the Willamette Valley. They have a story within their oral history of a tremendous flood coming into the valley which forced them to climb the mountains. Like the flood myths of other Nat Am tribes, it is similar in theme that an animal person stole something that precipitated the flood and the giving of it back caused the flood to abate. No similarity whatsoever to the biblical or Sumerian flood myth. The Navajo have one where they climb a mountain and then, a magic reed to escape the rising waters in the third world. Coyote was the naughty animal person who stole in that one.

Dismissing flood myths entirely as being from the same source or compartmentalizing them as being a signifier for a global flood are pretty common mistakes I see on both sides of the flood myth debate. There is geological evidence for tremendous and localized floods that, in the original orator's worldview, would have seemed that their entire world had been flooded. There is no evidence that this state was for the entire globe either geologically or within myth. However, floods do happen to this day and these would likely to be embedded in oral histories as they would be inspirational stories of survival against a great calamity. That's exactly the kind of stuff that gets preserved within oral histories as it instills a sense of pride and strength within a people and these stories can become warped over time (like the magic reed--was it a reed boat that was simply forgotten by a landlocked peoples?). When we think of the world, we see a large blue planet. When they thought of the world, it would've been as far as the eye could see. It's a matter of world view.

posted on May, 16 2013 @ 01:20 PM
this is very interesting topic i would love to learn more

posted on May, 16 2013 @ 02:05 PM
reply to post by EzekielsWheel

This is a very interesting topic.

The studies I did (pre-personal computers) indicated that most consonates were inter-changable, while the vowel sounds remained the same. That is about all I can contribute to this discussion because my studies were very limited and I haven't pursued this line of studies since I acquired internet access.

Thanks for this thread.

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