Re: Did man originally speak a single language?

Glenn R. Morton (
Mon, 02 Nov 1998 18:46:32 -0600

At 08:23 AM 11/2/98 -0500, George Murphy wrote:

> Reasonable enough. But if one is to make connections with Gen.11, one
>need to deal with the fact that Semitic languages don't fit this pattern.
& on your
>parallel post, apparently they don't for "finger" either. (Hebrew
'etsba`, in which ts
>is really a hard or emphatic s.)

Absolutely granted. The semitic languages are part of the Afro-Asiatic
family which are listed in Ruhlen's lists with both languages. The thing
Ruhlen and Greenberg are pointing out is that these sounds cross the bounds
of languge families they also cross the bounds of language superfamilies.
No one, would demand that the same sound be found in every language on
earth. If they were, the languages would be the same, or the time of the
original language very recent.

Given the vast (infinite) number of sounds that could be used or selected
to represent each concept, it is amazing that the same sound was chosen
over and over in languages distantly related. One must either postulate a
genetic bias towards certain sounds for certain concepts or one must allow
for similarity due to common descent. This is exactly the same problem one
finds in biology with DNA molecules. The similarity of biomolecules is
either evidence of common design, or common descent.

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