Hey, fellas! Are you home yet? No? Same with me then. Well, let’s reveal some facts about English words. Do you know the oldest English word that still exists until today?
FYI, all of the major languages in Europe, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent developed from one original root and form the Indo-European family of languages.
Some of the oldest words in the English language date back more than 20,000 years. Words such as ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘two’, ‘three’ and ‘five’ were probably used by our ancestors in the Stone Age – and have changed very little since then. Numerals and pronouns are the least resistant to change because they are used most frequently and have very precise meanings, researchers have discovered.
In contrast, words that change rapidly across nations, languages and time are more likely to die off in the future. #EngTrivia
The words “thou”, “I”, and “who” are probably at least 15,000 – 20,000 years old. The sounds used then for these meanings were probably very similar to those used today.
Researchers found that the more often a word is used, the less likely it is to change over time. They are also able to work out which words are likely to disappear in the future. For example, there are 46 different ways of saying the word ‘dirty’ in the Indo-European languages – all of which are completely unrelated. This means that it is unlikely to survive the next 1,000 years in its present form.The words ‘squeeze’, ‘guts’, ‘stick’ and ‘bad’ also differ hugely between related languages and so are unlikely to exist in the future.
And these are the top 20 oldest words in order of age: The top 20 oldest words in order of age: TO DIE, HAND, NIGHT, TO GIVE, STAR, WHERE, WHAT, THOU, NEW, TONGUE, NAME, ONE, HOW, FOUR, WE, FIVE, I, THREE, TWO. And the oldest word in English is… WHO.
That’s it for tonight. Now, let’s head home… Wait! If you want to find more about English, feel free to visit englishtips4u.com. See ya!
Compiled for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 9 September, 2015.