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

I vote Sindarin.

Because I’m cool. :cool:

Leaving aside the whole “Tower of Babel” myth … it has been suggested that all human languages are derived from one common ancestor (Proto-Indo-European, IIRC, is supposed to be a descendant of Proto-Indo-Aryan, so it’s at best a grandchild of the original proto-language.) It’s certainly possible … but it’s also possible that language, as an innovation, caught on amongst our tool-using-ape ancestors in several separate places … The origins of human language are (to put it mildly) a heavily disputed topic among linguisticians and anthropologists. And, needless to say, there’s not much in the way of reliable records to go on.


Isaac Mozeson, a Judaic scholar, has been working to prove a proto-Hebrew language was actually the root of all languages. Either Tyndale or Wycliffe supposedly said that in translating the Hebrew into English, he found a great many parallels.


In a way there actually was a Tower Of Babel:

I’m sure I’ve seen a picture in some encyclopedia, or perhaps a popular archaeology book, of a ruined ziggurat somewhere in Iraq that the locals show off to tourists as the “Tower Of Babel”. Not that there are many tourists there these days, of course. But who knows? It could be a case of a real place, a real tower, and a real story that got conflated into a moral lesson with supernatural special effects.

I think you’re right. The purpose of the Ziggurat likely wasn’t what was in the bible. Being built in Babylon likely means it was tied to a Babylonian deity, or perhaps plain old kingly vanity. Though wasn’t the Talmud written in Babylon? That might explain the linkage.

Am I the only one who thinks the OP was not meant as a serious question? :rolleyes:

Chinese, of course. 1.2 billion people can’t be wrong. :stuck_out_tongue:

I once met this guy who compared Hebrew to Chinese and the various dialects and apparently found a lot of parallels, although the way he did the comparisons seemed a slight stretch.

Using English and Mandarin for examples, he equated “stone” with “shi tou”. So far so good. Then he compared “road” with “dao lu”. I was skeptical, but I was willing to buy that. Then he compared “fruit” with “feng li” (the Chinese for pineapple) and “bo luo” (the other Chinese term). That was when the BS meter started going off, because pinapples aren’t exactly native to China except for the far southern tropical regions. Now, the actual Hebrew-to-Mandarin comparisons were a lot closer, but by then I was taking it all with lots of salt.

Of course, all languages do have some overlap. The human mouth can only make so many sounds, and a lot of them influenced each other as people moved around and took their ways of speaking with them. Whether there was, at any point, a singular human language depends on what theory of origin you subscribe to. Genetically speaking, we’ve decended from a very small group of ancestors, so it’s definitely possible.

Oh, yeah, a slight hijack.

Apparently, “Bab-el” means “Heaven’s Gate” or something.

Maybe this was an ancient group of cultists that was trying to build a landing pad for alien spacecrafts that their charismatic leader told them was coming to take them all to a better place, and then when they got done they all took some funky Koolaid. :smiley:

Actually, we all spoke chimpanzee.


There is evidence that the earliest human language may have been a click language related to those spoken by the Khoisan (aka Bushmen) today:

From here

Quoth FriarTed:

Well, of course, if there is an original language, it’d be a proto-Hebrew. It’d also be a proto-Latin, and proto-German, and proto-Chinese, and proto-Hungarian, and proto-Iroquois, and…

And Dijon Warlock, Sindarin is derived from Quenya, so SCSimmons has you beat there.

The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (not to be confused with the Prussian king F2) conducted a similar experiment in 1248 using several babies. They were provided with excellent care but never spoken to. The language they would have spoken was never deduced because the babes all died.

This story (contained in the Chronicle of Salimbene) has been used in many sermons, New Age manifestoes, and even in some online massage books as proof that without communication humans will die. I’m guessing that the fact that the experiment was conducted in a time and place with no antibiotics or vaccinations may have had a bit to do with the death of the infants as well, however.

PS- Frederick’s other experiments including bringing a village of several hundred Arabs from the Holy Land to Italy, where there was ample room because he had just exported an equal number of Italians to the Holy Land. He also had prisoners fed different types of food and then disembowelled a few hours later to see which foods were most digested, kept a harem (which rather p.o.d the Pope, who was his mortal enemy anyway), conquered more of the Holy Land through diplomacy than his fellow Crusaders conquered with swords (Muslims loved him), wrote a book on falconry that is still in use, and had some unusual notions about architecture. I apologize for the hijack, but this is the only time Freddy 2 (one of my favorite characters in history as far as fascination aspect goes) is ever likely to be mentioned.

(Anthropologist hat on)

Why, if such a myth were based in reality, it would have simply been the first universal language, without a need for a name because there was nothing from which to separate it.


(metaphysician hood on)

Obviously, as has been divined, the first language needed no words, we were psychic back then. With THE FALL (from divinity) we lost the innate ability to communicate psychically. Adam only AFTER THE FALL had to start naming things. This Ademic language is the same as “The Sacred Language” currently used today by our secret societies, and was extant before the BabEl screwup.

However, the gods did not abandon us totally, and therefore sent we “special beings” who CAN STILL communicate psychically. (Some may call us aliens, but we are really only co-creator gods.) And we can also teach you to communicate psychically as well. Lessons are available at a location close to you at a reasonable price (currently $999 per class - hurry, NOW!). Don’t expect overnight results! The path back to divinity (your birthright) is long and tedious, specifically to deter the unworthy. But, of course, YOU, are worthy, I can sense it!

(Hood off)

(Clerical Mitre On)

Why the first language was the same language that G_d used to communicate with His Creation, which is the same way He speaks to us today, in G_D’SMIND to humansoul communication! (Hallelujah!)

Now, the Pagans and Heathens would have it that this is the same as Psychic Communication, but nothing could be farther from the TRUTH. In fact, as has been personally revealed (perhaps to me, but I won’t say because I have G_d’s humility), PSYCHIC COMMUNICATION IS THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE OF SATAN, THE DEVIL, THE GREAT BEAST AND ALL IT’S RELATIVES, MINIONS, SLAVES, COHORTS AND THE GREAT MISLEAD!

(mITRE OFF) (Caps Lock Off)

(Snakespirit hat on)

Like you care?

(oops, this thing won’t come off!)


At least one muslim scholar who meet him stated that, in his opinion, Frederick was an atheist, and didn’t seem to believe in any religion.

It’s a quite fascinating character, on the overall. Not at all a man who fitted in his time’s customs and practices.
I read that the story about the babies not being talked to in order to determine what was the original language was of doubtful authenticity, though…