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Author Archives: Jessica Dudley

University of Reading experts discover the oldest words in the world

Researchers at the University have discovered that the numbers one to five are among the oldest
words, dating back hundreds of thousands of years. Professor Mark Pagel has been looking into
the history of Indo-European languages, the basis of our language today, and has found that these
low number words can be found consistently throughout history, some of the numbers have a
possible lifespan of up to 100,000 years.
Professor Pagel said: “It is remarkable to think that words used today, in particular ‘two,’ ‘three’
and ‘five’ connect us with ancestors from perhaps 10,000 or more years ago who would have
used words similar to those in use today.» >

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