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Languages, Like Everything in Nature, Are Just Branches on a Tree

Today there are thousands of languages in use — however, each is a derivation of a preceding tongue, or a “proto-language.” And each of those can be traced to an even earlier super-group language. When the world was younger, there were actually fewer languages!

Yet, tracing a language back to its origins is far from easy — but for linguists, learning the history of a language reveals great insight into the history of our species.

Often times, they are even able to reconstruct earlier languages with no prior written records; how cool is that? And to top it all off, learning how new languages form is just plain fun.

Check out the below Ted Ed video to learn more about how we got all of these languages in an entertaining way and then be sure to share and spread your new-found knowledge with your friends, family, and other language-loving acquaintances.

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.