Sir William Jones, Father of Modern Linguistics on the Three Original Languages at Babel

LINGUISTICS. I’m a bit of a “language geek” since my mother and father were both linguists. So I was fascinated to find out the following info from the “Father of Modern Linguistics,” Sir William Jones, discoverer of the “Proto Indo-European” language … this bit is from George Stanley Faber, written in the early 1800s about how there were probably only 3 original languages at the Babel Confusion …

“Now the researches of Sir William Jones are in effect the very process, by which alone the matter can be settled: and it is remarkable, that they at once finally decide the question, account for the circumstance which has been noticed in the history of Abraham, and establish the number of primary languages which originated at Babel. He has discovered, we have seen, three primary tongues, into which, so far as such points can be positively determined, all other tongues ultimately resolve themselves. These three he pronounces to be radically and essentially different from each other, both in words and in grammar and in construction, so that no two of them could have originated from the third: and all the three he finds existing together in that centrical region, whence the several families which spoke them must have branched off, and where Moses fixes the production of some preternatural dialectical confusion which was the efficient cause of that emigration. Hence, I think, it will necessarily follow, both that the confusion at Babel must have been a real confusion of language, not merely a temporary inarticulateness of pronunciation; and that the number of primary languages, which then arose, was precisely three, answering, though not with absolute exclusiveness, to the three great patriarchal houses. Hence also we must understand the languages, which are said by Moses to have been severally spoken in the various families of those three houses, as mere dialects of one or other of the primary tongues; which, in process of time, received such alteration, that even the families of the same house became unintelligible to each other.(Faber, “Origin of Pagan Idolatry,” Volume III, p. 465)

Scholarly book about Jones HERE.

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