What language was spoken before God destroyed the Tower of Babel?

Is there any speculation on the language used by humans before God destroyed the so-called Tower of Babel?


The Adamic language is held to have been spoken prior to the destruction of the Tower of Babel.

Now there’s two assumptions here. One, that there was a God and hence a single point of humanity through Adam, and two, that there was a Tower of Babel.

They spoke Everybodytalk. Since there were no alternatives, people had no basis for comparison or contrast, or even the idea of “language”.
“What’s language?”

“It’s what you’re saying now.”

“I’m saying words. Language is words?”

“No, no – it’s much more than that. There’s grammar and parts of speech and a whole lot more. Imagine if you used a different word for “teeth””.

“Why would I do that? Nobody would know what I meant.”

“Geez! Do I have to hit you over the head with a ziggurat?”

In the writings of Herodotus, it is reported that King Psammetichus (of Egypt) wished to know what was the original human language; reasoning that people would speak it spontaneously if they were never taught anything else, he locked two babies away and commanded that they were never spoken to by the servants tending them; he concluded that the original language was Phrygian because the first recognisable noise they made was something that sounded like *Bekos - the Phrygian word for bread.

It has been speculated, though, that the noise they were making was just an emulation of the bleating of sheep, heard through a window.

I imagine it will come as no surprise that the Midrash and Talmud say it was Hebrew.


Which is why nobody of any great importance speaks it today.

Next question.

The idea that Hebrew was the root language of man is long-standing. For example, C Columbus took some (converted) Jews to America with him, since it was thought that Hebrew would be reasonably close to Chinese.

I have read in Poliakov’s The Aryan Myth that some German intellectuals of the 18th or 19th centuries had a long-running debate on whether Adam spoke Hebrew or German.

From Wikipedia

Sure its not Britannica but its the best I can find right now.

Indeed. C. M. Millward’s Biography of the English Language (which I happen to have because of a class I’m taking) mentions it a couple of times.

Esperanto…or maybe Klingon.

English. Cite you say? How’s God for a cite? From the King James Bible (the true Word of God):

There are more examples. Clearly English is the origianl language, which is probably why it was good enough for Jesus.


Arabic of course. The Quran is the eternal Word of Allah, and He speaks in Arabic. The fact that this was revealed to us by an Arab should not cause the faithful to doubt.

Actually, no.

There is no Islamic teaching that God speaks Arabic. The Koran was revealed to Arabic-speakers and so it was written in that language. In order to prevent the many problems with translation, taking the holy writings into other languages has always been discouraged. (But rarely prohibited.)

It is as silly to say God speaks Arabic as to say He speaks English, or even (gasp) French.

I think you need to go read Snow Crash (warning, Sci Fi) which somewhat deeply discusses the whole subject.



Nothing in Genesis 11 says that God destroyed the Tower of Babel.