‘Oldest English words’ identified
Medieval manuscripts give linguists clues about more recent changes
Some of the oldest words in English have been identified, scientists say.
Reading University researchers claim “I”, “we”, “two” and “three” are among the most ancient, dating back tens of thousands of years.
Their computer model analyses the rate of change of words in English and the languages that share a common heritage.
The team says it can predict which words are likely to become extinct – citing “squeeze”, “guts”, “stick” and “bad” as probable first casualties.