A team of scientists led by Mark Pagel from the University of Reading School of Biological Sciences in England is supposed to have determined 23 words that existed 15,000 years ago. Per the article:
What this means is that if an Ice Age person from 15,000 years ago could hear you speak today, he or she could probably understand you, so long as you used these handful of words. Here they are:
thou, I, not, that, we, to give, who, this, what, man/male, ye, old, mother, to hear, hand, fire, to pull, black, to flow, bark, ashes, to spit, worm....
I can't get the very cool page to work. I don't know if the problem is with my computer or the page itself.
Hmmm, yes. I heard the 'word sounds' as played OK. Nostratic researchers might find some rather controversial. I was quite surprised at the absence of a quasi-universal prehistoric equivalent for woman or mater and the like.
thanks ! I enjoyed reading that. Very educational.
The funny part is, I think most people who have studied more than three or four languages would have had a hunch that "tu" is one of the world's most conserved words. But what is ironic is that English doesn't have it anymore!