In an extinct Australian language, the word for "dog" is "dog". Is there a universality to languages?

  • The Bible claims this and its clearly evidence for this all around us.

    In the Bible story the tower of Babel its says everyone spoke the same language until God split the people of the Earth up. So I believe all languages have a common ancestor. This piece of evidence goes on to prove this and it is by no means alone. There are other words and sounds which are common in all languages.

  • Yes, I believe some elements of languages are universal.

    I believe that some elements of language are universal, and this can clearly be seen in the similarities between different languages. Languages evolve from one another and so it is inevitable that some words or phrases will be similar or identical, and for that fact may be classed as being universal.

  • To a certain extent.

    When a person learns multiple romance languages, they start to learn that a lot of the words overlap. For example, the English word "suit" is "costume" in French. In Spanish, the word is "hamburguesa," while in English it is "hamburger." This is not by accident. Rather, language develops because people use language the same way, all over the world.

  • Many languages are similar

    Many languages share similarities, and many words are similar in several different languages. This is because many of the languages we use today take words and partial words from other languages. It's common to find these similarities across the world, in both the languages used today and those no longer spoken.

  • Yes, languages share many common patterns.

    Yes, there is a universality to languages. Linguists site characteristics common to all languages, such as the universal presence of pronouns that could not be the result of pure chance. Many languages also fall into families, which share what linguists call 'tendencies' that are related to factors such as the pronunciation of consonants and vowels or repeated grammar patterns.

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