All the world’s languages may date back to a single ‘mother tongue’ spoken in pre-historic Africa, according to new research.
The study suggests that between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago humans spoke in a single dialect that proved the catalyst for human civilisation.
The report by Dr Quentin Atkinson from The University of Auckland in New Zealand is based on phonemes – distinct sounds such as vowels and consonants that make up language.
He analysed the number of phonemes found in 504 world languages, and hypothesized that languages with the most phonemes were the oldest. Also, the dialects furthest away from the ‘mother tongue’ were found to be less complicated.