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'Huh?' Is the First Universal Word Used in Most Languages

4 years ago37 views

GeoBeats

Geo Beats

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands have found the utterance “huh?” to be a universal word used in many languages with the same meaning.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands have found the utterance “huh?” to be a universal word used in many languages with the same meaning.

Most words in different languages are similar because of a shared root word origin, and these are called cognates, but “huh” doesn’t fit into this model.

By analyzing recordings of people speaking ten different languages including Spanish, Chinese, Icelandic, and indigenous languages in Australia, Ecuador and Ghana, Africa, the researchers found that the same sound is used to ask another person for clarification.

All of the languages had a similar sound to “huh?,” making it the first universal word identified by modern linguists.

Further research has found that 21 other languages, many of which are unrelated, also use a variation of the word “huh,” to express the same sentiment.

Experts theorize that the same word is used in the same context in different languages and cultures, because it is the most efficient way to ask for someone to explain further or repeat what they said and came about through convergent evolution.

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