lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2014

How to talk like a stone-age man

A fascinating new book reveals how our ancient ancestors spoke. And you'll be astonished by how familiar it all sounds

 Here’s how to talk like a stone-age man: say the word ‘pu’. Your mouth is pursed, your nose is narrowed. You are blowing out a breath, as if to dispel a bad smell.

In the Stone Age, the sound pu meant exactly what it means today.

This is how language began. The earliest words in English date back at least 8,000 years — and they describe themselves: we can work out what the words meant by the shapes our lips form when we say them.

‘Pe’, for instance, is different from pu. It starts with the lips together and separates them with a faint pop. Pe means open and the ancient sound is at the core of the modern word open. ‘Mei’ means smile and it makes you do exactly that — your mouth stretches wide, showing your teeth. Once again, the old sound is at the centre of today’s word: smile. [...]

Book: Written in Stone: An entertaining time-travelling jaunt through the Stone Age origins of our modern-day language / Link 2 (Google Books)

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