新概念雙語:你知道這些單詞已經有15000歲高齡了么
        來源: 環球網校 2020-07-14 08:11:00 頻道: 新概念

        英國雷丁大學生物科學學院的科學家們列出了23個最古老的已知詞語。這些詞語是七種原始歐亞語言所共有的,由這七種語言演化而來的語言有上百種,有的至今還存在,有的已經消亡。

        Were you to find yourself beside a campfire 150 centuries ago alongside a group of hunter gatherers, chances have it that they might understand some of these words. Some are pretty obvious, like “mother”, “not”, “what” or the ever so life-saving “fire”, but “worm” and “spit” definitely come as a surprise.

        如果你穿越到15000年以前,和一群狩獵者圍坐在篝火旁邊,他們或許能夠聽懂上述某些詞語。他們能理解“mother(母親)”、“not(不)”、“what(什么)”以及對生存至關重要的“fire(火)”等單詞,這不意外,不過“worm(蟲子)”和“spit(吐痰)”這兩個詞語絕對讓人意想不到。

        There’s a consensus among linguists that a language typically can’t survive past 8,000 or 9,000 years, since it’s common for languages to mix and get replaced by other more influential languages or morph into new ones altogether. These timeless “ultra conservative” words, as they’ve been dubbed by the researchers, show that this isn’t entirely true, albeit the list is only a handful large.

        語言學界一致認為,一般來說,一種語言最多只能持續8000或9000年,因為語言通常會彼此融合,被更強勢的語言取代或變成新的語言。這些經久不衰的詞語卻說明該理論并不完全正確,語言學家稱之為“超保守”語言,雖然它們數量極少。

        Mark Pagel of the University of Reading’s School of Biological Sciences led the research. Pagel and his team first started off with 200 words that linguists know to be the core vocabulary of all languages. What interested them were “cognates,” which are words that have the same meaning and a similar sound in different languages. For instance father (English), padre (Italian), pere (French), pater (Latin) and pitar (Sanskrit) are cognates. After the roots of these words were found, the scientists came up with the list of 23 words.

        雷丁大學生物科學學院的馬克.佩奇是這項研究的帶頭人。佩奇和他的研究團隊首先從語言學界公認的所有語言的200個核心詞匯著手。“同源詞”引起了研究人員的興趣。同源詞就是不同語言中具有相同含義、發音也相似的詞語。例如,都表示“父親”的father(英語),padre(意大利語),pere(法語), pater(拉丁語)和pitar(梵語)就是同源詞。在追蹤了這些詞語的詞根后,科學家列出23個詞語。

        “Our results suggest a remarkable fidelity in the transmission of some words and give theoretical justification to the search for features of language that might be preserved across wide spans of time and geography,” Pagel and his team wrote.

        佩吉及其研究團隊寫道:“我們的研究說明,一些詞語在傳播過程中有著很高的忠誠度,也為尋找經歷時間和空間的巨大跨度后仍能被保存下來的語言特征提供了理論依據。”

        What’s rather interesting to note is the meaning of these words. These words survived for 15,000 years, despite technology, society, religion and so forth changed dramatically. Their value has remained undisturbed for thousands of years.

        更值得一提的是這些詞語的含義。它們流傳了15000年,雖然科技、社會和宗教等方面已經發生了翻天覆地的變化,但上萬年來,它們的含義始終未變。

        “I was really delighted to see ‘to give’ there,” Pagel said. “Human society is characterized by a degree of cooperation and reciprocity that you simply don’t see in any other animal. Verbs tend to change fairly quickly, but that one hasn’t.”

        佩吉稱:“看到其中有‘to give(給予)’這個詞,我感到非常開心。人類社會的特征就是存在一定程度的合作和互惠,而你在其他任何動物中是看不到這點的。動詞在語言中的變化一直很快,但這個單詞卻始終不變。”

        Findings were detailed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

        該研究的詳細成果發表在《美國國家科學院院刊》上。

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