Timeless Words and Nerdy Shirts are the Best Thing Ever

I didn’t post last week so here are two awesome things for you:

First, over at the Washington Post they have a great infographic on words that have remained the same for 15 000 years. It even has sound clips so you can hear the words spoken. Have a look at it here, it’s pretty friggin cool.

Anthropological and historical linguistics is one of those things that fascinate me. Words drop in and out of fashion, they get replaced by adopted words from other languages, they change pronunciation. Knowing this I expected to see words similar across the Indo-European Family of languages, which is something known, but sometimes the news isn’t as new as it could be.

But the exciting thing here is that all 23 of these words predate Proto-Indo-European by thousands of years. These so-called “ultraconserved” words appear across widely varying and unrelated language families. Of the seven Eurasiatic Language families, all these words appear in at least 4. One of them, the word “thou,” appears in all seven.

Here’s the list:

  1. Thou
  2. I
  3. not
  4. that
  5. we
  6. to give
  7. who
  8. this
  9. what
  10. man
  11. ye
  12. old
  13. mother
  14. to hear
  15. hand
  16. fire
  17. pull
  18. black
  19. to flow
  20. bark
  21. ashes
  22. to spit
  23. worm

This version comes from National Geographic, and is also excellent:

This amazing graphic shows the linguistic evolution of 200 common words, or cognates, across languages. Graphic by Oliver Uberti, National Geographic

Second, the awesome Tumblr of Megan Lara. I got here from the Doctor Who Subreddit on Reddit, but the first thing I saw upon getting there was this great Team Rocket design.

PREPARE FOR TROUBLEby Megan LaraBuy the shirt here!

It is possible that I watch too many cartoons, but if you have a nerdy bone in your body, you will find something here to love. Like this:

Or this:

Here’s the best part: all these designs are all available as T-shirts or prints. Go buy one, or 3, or 10, they are the best thing ever.


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