The oldest language

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by sokol, Aug 16, 2009.

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  1. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Split off from this thread.
    Frank, moderator EHL

    Could you please give one single piece of evidence which indicates that Arabic could be "the oldest language ever"?

    Linguists do not even think that Arabic were the oldest language within the Semitic branch.
    I am sorry but with arguments like this historical linguistics indeed would become "mere guesswork" which of course it shouldn't be.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2009
  2. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    It's always a very healthy mental reflex to ask for proof, arguments etc.

    So, it shouldn't come as too big a surprise if I do the same: what on eath or beyond makes you think that "Arabic is the oldest language ever"?
    Please be sure that in your answer you clearly explain what you mean by "Arabic", that you give us some clear dates (and datings), that you give us a sample of the earliest attestations of what you think is "Arabic" and compare those data with other languages, etc.
    Please, convince us.

    I read similar claims about Hebrew, Sumerian, Turkish, Basque, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Sanskrit... you name it. I am wondering what makes people think that language X is "the oldest". And no, not the oldest written language, the oldest attested language, but the oldest ever.


    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  3. palomnik Senior Member

    Many linguists have expressed the opinion that from the phonetic point of view Arabic shows more primitive tendencies than other Semitic languages. Sorry, but I can't cite any sources for this off the top of my head.

    This is, of course, a far cry from saying that Arabic is the oldest language.
  4. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    What makes people believe that are usually either religious reasons (as in the case of Hebrew and Arabic, up to my knowledge), mythical beliefs or hastily jumping to conclusions (as in the case of Sumerian, which is the oldest written or attested language by some standards).

    In the case of Arabic, even the religious proof is not strong enough to make such a strong confirmation! I personally like to believe that Arabic is the first language ever spoken, but I try to keep this as a "personal belief" because for all I know my belief may very well be based more on sentimental grounds (I love my mother tongue :)) than concrete ones (I haven't really heard of a 120,000 year old tablet with Arabic writing on it, have you?).

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean; can you elaborate a little?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2009
  5. palomnik Senior Member

    As I recall, the argument was that Arabic has a greater variety of consonantal sounds than other Semitic languages, most notably Hebrew. The theory is that sounds that were independent phonemes in proto-Semitic combined to become allophones in Hebrew (and I imagine other Semitic languages), while they stayed discrete phonemes in Arabic.
  6. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    See here. The most famous is of course the /ɬˁ/ which has survived in modern Arabic as [dˁ] (ض) while it merged with the emphatic "s" (Arabic ص, Canaanite/Hebrew צ) or with "`ain" (Arabic ع, Aramaic ע) in other semitic languages.
  7. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    I see, and I agree with this.
  8. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I have not and I agree the belief that Arabic may be the oldest language ever rests solely on setimental grounds - there is not a shred of evidence that I have seen to back it up. The earliest attestation for (Proto-)Arabic that I can find comes from the 8th century BC, a long way from being the oldest language on record.

    I'm always willing to examine proof to the contrary however, should it be provided.
  9. Kevin Beach

    Kevin Beach Senior Member

    I know almost nothing about the Semitic languages, but reason and some historical knowledge suggest that humankind is still a long way from discerning the oldest language, either generally or in any specific language group.

    The oldest written evidence is no more than 5,000 years old. However, our anthropological knowledge tells us that Homo Sapiens Sapiens has been around for many tens of thousands of years, if not more. There are even theories that archaic Homo Sapiens may have used speech up to half a million years ago.

    Unless there is an as yet undiscovered process by which all the world's sounds have been recorded in nature, so that we will one day be able to detect and replay them, how will we ever be able to judge what the first language was and what it sounded like?

    Even the far more limited attempt to pick the oldest surviving language is doomed to failure by a process of logic. Unless there was a time when people stopped using their own tongue and deliberately adopted a completely artificial language, all languages now spoken ultimately represent developments from something untraceably ancient.

    Even attempts to pinpoint the oldest traceable surviving language would produce nothing but transitory results. Today’s declaration of the oldest lineage will be replaced by tomorrow’s discovery of something even deeper-rooted.

    Am I making sense or have I missed something?
  10. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    One might be a creationist and assume that Adam spoke an early form of Arabic.

    From an evolutionary perspective, claims that any existing language be the "oldest language ever" makes indeed very little sense.
  11. post887 Member

    Just in case you have got it otherwise: I am not comparing between Proto-Arabic and Proto-Semitic, I am using the two conveniences interchangeably, i.e., replacing the word Semitic by Arabic.

    Consequently, true, Aramaic and Hebrew are not Proto-Arabic, they are descendant of Proto-Arabic. As my original sentence was rather shortened, this mistaking is my fault (though my point was got by other readers.) But you have just done me a great favor: on the absence of any possibility to a real proof, which presumably we all agree on, you have put it right for a logical attestation: if Arabic is NOT their descendant, what is it? This is my point. Though, it does not need to be, and it is most likely not, Arabic, but rather Proto-Arabic.

    The reason I replaces the two words is, Semitic is not a language, there is no language called Semitic. It is a convenience (which is describing a set of predefined characteristics.) Whereas, Arabic is an existing language that has it all (the whole package.) This is read as: Arabic is a preserved form of Proto-Arabic, to which Aramaic and Hebrew (Akkadian, Augaritian, Kannanite, Ehiopic, Assyrian, etc) go back. Something to remember: a whole does not come out of a part. (you can still choose to think it (Arabic) is a development but this has less logic and does not explain what they share in common besides we are talkin about Proto-form of Arabic.)

    In the case of Arabic, Arabic etymologist (scholar, scientists, even the religious figures, etc) have not stated or even tried to suggest/prove that Arabic is the first language. Because this could not be proved for sure by any means, and it has a little value to make any difference to the ideological conviction. (unless it is being based on racial bases.)

    I would not pretend that I understand what part of my "not always humble opinion (this is cool by the way)" was so outrageous to express and has made it so provoking for the mod. But for sure I am truly humble before your humbleness.
  12. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hello post887,

    I must admit that you made me feel very confused here. You said that Arabic is the oldest language ever, then you said
    So, either you're making contradictory statements, or you need to rephrase your argumentation to make it clearer.

    Also, maybe you need to make a difference between Semitic and Arabic. Proto-Semitic and Proto-Arabic are -to my very very limited knowledge- two different things, even if you think otherwise. At least to avoid confusing those who distinguish between the two notions.
    I don't see any provoked mods around. :) This thread is strictly between forum members. Unless moderators make it clear that they interfere as such, you should only see a fellow forum member. :)
  13. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    This leads to understandable confusion, like here:

    Proto-Semitic and Proto-Arabic are two different things, please specify which you are referring to.

    Please see here.

    With respect, how could Arabic be a preserved form of Proto-Arabic? It's either different or it's not.
  14. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    It is called Proto-Semitic because it is the hypothetical common ancestors to all Semitic languages, not just Arabic. What makes you think that this common ancestor is so much closer to Arabic than to any other Semitic language that Proto-Arabic would be a more accurate name? And even if we take phonetic preservation (as discussed earlier) as the only measuring rod then South Arabian is even closer to the common ancestor than Arabic.
  15. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    This ideosyncratic mix up isn't very productive at all, not only because it is blatantly wrong. Both linguistic terms Proto-Semitic and Proto-Arabic have very specific meanings in the literature, by definition, by convention. Single-handedly changing these kind of conventions is unwarranted.

    Of Proto-Semitic.


    Neither is there a language called "Indo-European". But who'd dream of replacing Indo-European by Lithuanian, because Lithuanian is "an existing language" (and it retains many of the original features of the nominal morphology of PIE) and Indo-European not. German descends from Proto-Lithuanian?
    Anyway, if you choose to mix up Proto-Semitic with Proto-Arabic, then I start to wonder why you don't call Proto-Semitic "Proto-Hebrew"? Hebrew is "an existing language". Hence, it would be equally valid to call Arabic a descendent of Proto-Hebrew.
    You stated it. Please show us some hard but juicy linguistic evidence.

    From the rules:
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  16. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    I don't know much at all about Hebrew but some basic facts about Akkadian which is the oldest Semitic language of which we have written documents - which, however, does not necessarily mean that Akkadian were the most conservative Semitic language.
    And it is well established that this is not the case - in fact Akkadian merged pharyngeal and glottal consonants very early to a single glottal stop, and also "e" and "o" phonemes developped (like they did in e. g. modern Egyptian Arabic). So Akkadian was rather progressive.

    Arabic, even though written evidence is much younger, is much more conservative. But still linguists do not believe that Arabic or its immediate Pre-Islamic predecessor was the most conservative Semitic dialect but rather Old Southern Arabian, as argued here (literature quote from German Wiki; strangely enough, this is not mentioned in English Wiki):
    N. Nebes, P. Stein: Ancient South Arabian. in: Roger D. Woodard (Hrsg.): The Cambridge encyclopedia of the World's ancient languages. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004, S. 454-487. ISBN 0-521-56256-2

    Old South Arabian is extinct (and quite distinct from Arabic - click the link); with Islam modern Arabic replaced OSA completely.

    I am no specialist in the field at all but I do trust Semitists claiming that this language, Old South Arabian, probably is quite close (or probably even the closest) to the original Proto-Semitic language. Or anyway, post 887, if you don't agree with them you should offer better arguments than just your "opinion". Agreed? ;)

    (And you should by no means replace the word "Semitic" with "Arabic". Enough has been said about this already; this would just lead to an ideological discussion - and we are discussing linguistics here.)
  17. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Akkadian is phonetically less conservative than Arabic but it is assumed to be grammatically closer. E.g. it still has a (compared to early PIE languages simple) declension system (distinguishing Nominative, Genitive and Objective) which is assumed to correspond quite closely to that of Proto-Semitic.
    Modern South Arabian is equally conservative. By the way, it is the main source for reconstruction of Proto-Semitic (and, very likely, also classical Arabic) [ɬˁ] (ض).
  18. post887 Member

    Implications.. implications..

    Here we are, lost. First of all it should be clear that there is no certainty of whatever is conventionally used in the etymological hypotheses and it is very dishonest to imply otherwise. It is something (the lack of real evidence) I have stated (and no one has objected.) The best etymological guesses is merely based on interpretations of attestations that are subjected to change. A rule of thumb to remember.

    Semitic, about which people is disputing, and specifically some are implying, or explicitly stating, the prohibition of any discussion (which is genuinely unjustified and surprising attitude) is not even a legitimate convention, and implying it is of pure linguistic origin is wrong, it has partly ethnic background, but most importantly it is very poor convention as being having no historical evidences to support its imposition.

    The reference to Old South Arabian was quite inaccurate, because it neglected to state that people who spoked it/them were Arabs, and it/they are Arabic by nature and convention. Although I cannot support it with evidence because of the lack of proper sources, it was said that some of their words are even existing in the Quran, which is in (Classical) Arabic.

    Before proceeding, I would like to refer to berndf post (count=14) as an explanatory text of my original post, in response to the misreading of it by some of th other members, so that things are clear to all. And many thanks to berndf for that.

    If you have a number of photos, and they are partially blurred, in different degrees, there are two things you cannot do: reconstructing the proto-picture from the components of all pictures, because they individually have some degree of blurs, which are extrinsic to the original form of the pictures. You also cannot take the less-clear picture, or the picture that have a lesser number of features, and assume it to be the proto-picture. I think this is a clear analogy to demonstrate my argument, and response to the arguments about why Arabic and not another version.

    So, this is something I stand by and am repeating again, which I stated earlier: as much as I know Arabic is the oldest language ever. (in either forms.)

    It is really a wonder to me to insist on connecting such an etymological argument to ideology based on unjustified prejudices in a discussion board which is about Etymology, and which is a forum (where, by nature and purpose, such discussions normally take place.) Here is in such a sort of immature actions a last implication that needs not to be stated. And to which I would not absolutely commend (nor go easy with), too.

    Last aside note: I never referred to a private message.
  19. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    Going by your reasoning why not call it Proto-Hebrew or even Proto-Aramiac then? Both have longer established histories than Arabic has. Proto-Arabic is not, let me repeat, is not the same as Proto-Semitic. If you can find any serious linguistic researcher who agrees with you, please, show us the proof.

    If you are going to make such assertions, provide the evidence for it. Who says Arabic or even Proto-Semitic, is the "oldest language in the world"?

    Until such a time that this is provided, I will be forced to conclude that your opinions on this topic are illogical and utterly baselss.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  20. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    The ethnicity of the current speakers of a language is irrelevant for the classification of that language. Southern Arabian is definitely a language which separate from Arabic.
    Even Hebrew and Arabic are more closely related than Arabic and Old South Arabian.

    Why not? It would only prove that Classical Arabic had loanwords from neighbouring languages. Arabic has loanwords form Egyptian, Aramaic, Greek, Persian, ...

    Until now you haven’t supported this claim by a single argument, let alone proof. In this regard, your statement indeed appears to be purely ideological.

    In #14 I asked you
    I am eagerly waiting for a response. And we are all waiting for arguments supporting the claim, not just repetitions.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  21. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    What's the basis for this idea?
    I must have missed that lack of evidence you have stated. Lack of evidence for what? Can you be a bit more clear and specific?
    What makes you think so? Please explain.
    I fail to understand the first part of this explanation.
    About the second part: Among linguists, it is.
    Well, it doesn't matter that much what the origin of the term is. Believe me, not one nuclear physicist cares about the origin of the word atom.
    "Semitic" is widely accepted and currently used by mainstream linguists with a very specific meaning.
    If not, tell us why not, but please be more specific and clear.
    In my opinion it is better than coming up, single-handedly, with a new set of terms which you still haven't sufficiantly motivated.

    May I really suggest to search evidence first and then make statements on this public forum, and not the other way around?
    To be frank - what's in a name - you make quite a few statements without backing them up with evidence.

    This I consider as the first part: what I get from this is that you are trying to undermine some common notions of mainstream (historical) linguistics, to put them on a slope. At least, as far as I understood. I also have the impression that you're doing this in order to make way for your novelty theory.

    And so we arrive at the second part: your novelty theory, your statement that Arabic is the oldest language ever. That's a claim one can only make if one ignores all what's currently known in mainstream historical and comparative linguistics.

    Merely repeating a claim without backing it up with evidence isn't the best way to have a debate. We know your claim, that's why we started this new thread, so there is no need to repeat it. But you still haven't given us the evidence to support it. In every post you add a few very vague and general statements, but you don't seem to be eager to respond in a direct way to the core of this thread: "Arabic is the oldest language ever."

    So, I am going to try it again:
    Two questions, which to you will sound as one and the same question asked in two different ways:
    1. When did humanoids start to use language, according to you?
    2. When was Arabic, according to you, first spoken?

    In both cases (or in this case) we'll need a date or rather an approximate date (let's say 6000 years ago, 100.000 years ago). Logic tells me that your answers to 1 and 2 will be exactly the same. If not, then I think we're having a problem.

    Now, of course, it won't be enough to come up with only an approximate date. Because then we'd be still, erm, lost. You'll have to back up that date with solid evidence, solid enough to convince quite a few people here who are skeptic of your claim that Arabic is the oldest language ever.

    But even then we're not there. It's pointless to come up with a novelty theory, without giving a sound critique on the existing mainstream theories and point out where those theories go sloppy and indicate why your theory would be better.

    I'm not a linguist, neither a scientist. But my common sense says that this is the only valid way to proceed.

    Without an answer to these questions/this question and a solid argumentation, I fail to see a reason to go on with this discussion.
    Without an answer to these questions/this question and a solid argumentation, I fail to see a reason not to classify your writing as pseudolinguistics.

    It's up to you to convince us.

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  22. HUMBERT0

    HUMBERT0 Senior Member

    I'm no expert, but...It sounds like your guessing that Classical Arab up to that point in time or its source was the only language with no or little change in a part of the world that though in a way isolated is not an island in the middle of the ocean, that region is near a crossroad of continents and old civilizations contact must have happened since early times, just because a language is codified/preserved/frozen in an older/archaic form “for example… for religious purposes, like ecclesiastical Latin, Sanskrit, Biblical Hebrew, Classical Arab, etc”, in comparison with a version of itself which has changed or been changed by every day use across generations, it does not mean it never changed before, or that it was an only child language, or that it is the only legitimate descendent.

    Personally, I think Classical Arab was the form that successfully spread in that region, it was not the only variant; one variant always propagates over others, not because is more pure or older. French, Castillian, Portuguese, Italian, Standard German, Chinese mandarin, etc. overwhelmed their competitors in their regions in their time, and the other variants died out or are now local languages or thought to be dialects of the dominant language.

    I think you are using logic like this for your argument…
    For example, My Great-Great Grandfather’s name was Antonio…
    It sounds like, if were to say…, Since I’m the one that resembles my Grandfather the most , from now on it will be the same to say Proto-Humberto instead of Antonio (my great-great grandfather), I mean what is he (Antonio) if not a proto version of me, logically all my brothers and cousins are descendant of Antonio=Proto-Humberto (I mean Proto-me) and of course ultimately of Myself, that means that they “my brothers and cousins, uncles, great-uncles, etc.” are my descendents and even I am a descendent of my earlier stage or prototype of myself, it is clear that I and only I inherited the most characteristics of my Grandfather in contrast to all my known cousins and brothers (and I dare guess of all of my Great-Great Grandfather descendents), therefore I’m the original and older stock, should they have been older (though I’m a middle child) or more genuine than me… well than they should have inherited more characteristics of my Grandfather because I look like him, and he must have looked like his Grandfather (Antonio) even if nobody knows how Antonio looked like for sure.

    Just a thought :)
  23. palomnik Senior Member

    At the expense of adding some explosive fuel to this argument, it would be wrong for us to talk around this subject without acknowledging the elephant in the room.

    The idea that Arabic is the oldest language in the world is tied up with certain concepts in Islam. One of Islam's claims is that it is the restoration of the primordial religion, the religion of Adam and Abraham.

    Of course, Islam was revealed through Arabic, and for non-Muslims it's difficult to conceive what significance that has. The Quran is not Muhammad's revelation, but comes directly from God, and he used Arabic as the means of that revelation. This gives the language a cachet that goes far beyond Greek, Latin or Classical Chinese; only Hebrew, among Orthodox Jews, has any similar charisma.

    While not all Muslims may ponder the question of whether Arabic is the oldest language in the world, they certainly believe that the language has a primordial significance that other languages lack. Many westerners find it hard to get their arms around this attitude, but every culture - western culture included - has its own embedded beliefs.
  24. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I don't doubt that all this is true. However, if some (Muslim or not) wish to push the "belief" that Arabic has a value above all other languages, even to the extent that it was the world's first language, well, they better have some hard proof to go with it. Otherwise all we're dealing with here is pie in the sky conjecture.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  25. palomnik Senior Member

    Quite so.

    The question itself has an inherent flaw, however. On reflection it becomes clear that there is no totally objective way to determine what is the "oldest" language in the world. Even attempting to set what criteria could be used to prove it is probably impossible.

    That being the case, we are by necessity introducing a subjective element into the discussion, which means that anybody's guess is as good as anybody else's.
  26. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    I disagree. Without being flippant, I could claim that Old [insert language here] was the first language known to man, but why should people accept my claims? Because I engaged in some (perhaps complex) guesswork? That doesn't cut it.

    There is a linguistic body of evidence which can be examined and referred to when examining, admittedly abstract, questions such as these. If someone wants to make an improvement on it, or even better, say why it's wrong, then let them present the evidence as he/she sees it.

    Post887 has, to my mind, made some rather outlandish claims which even he himself admits aren't backed up by anything resembling hard evidence. It was he who first made claims about Arabic being the world's oldest language. When called upon to explain his reasoning behind such a belief he delivered a somewhat bewildering set of claims about ethnicities, word origins and the preservation of some Old South Arabian words in Classical Arabic so, ipso facto, Arabic = Proto-Semitic.

    Until such a time as he can provide some reasonable evidence accepted by a mostly sceptical audience here, or even just deliver a plausible theory which provides a basis for his claim that Arabic is the oldest language in the world, we've hit a brick wall.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  27. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Moderator note:
    The topic of this thread is whether Arabic is the oldest language ever. Extended meta-discussions about why anybody might hold such a belief rather than whether the claim is true or false are off-topic. You can, of course, react to arguments, if and when they are presented.
  28. Hulalessar Senior Member

    English - England
    I think what we need, so that we can tell if that elephant is indeed in the room and we do not continue tip-toeing around it, is for Post887 to let us know if he believes something like the following:

    The Quran is the word of God. The Quran is in Arabic. Arabic is therefore the language of God. Since God existed before he created man and any language was spoken by man, Arabic must be the oldest language.
  29. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."
    I think that’s quite an adequate description of the situation and the only conclusion we can draw at this very moment.

    On the other hand, Post887 made an exceptional claim: contrary to what is currently known about language, historical linguistics, Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Arabic (proto or not proto) linguistics, he claims that “Arabic is the oldest language ever”. As far as I am concerned, this kind of claims about Arabic (or any other language for that matter) doesn’t border on pseudo-linguistics, this IS pseudo-linguistics.
    But, I could be wrong.

    We all know that “exceptional claims require exceptional proof”. And we might add that it will probably take an exceptionally long period of time to come up with sound arguments to back up that claim. We can only hope that he’s currently researching the topic, searching for sources, attestations, dates, hard data, that he’s working on an extensive reply concerning the critique and objections against his claim while working out a set of linguistic arguments (and linguistic arguments only).
    Not an easy task, if you’d ask me.

    As long as we don't know which “animal” will be released in this room – because so far I have detected none – I fail to see the point of trying to predict or even describe it. I do realize that we have been running around in circles, two pages long, and that not only my patience has almost reached its limits. But I don’t think that we should force Post887, or anybody else, in whatever corner, be it a religious, political or nationalistic one, for a few reasons:
    1. He didn’t give a lot of indications (well, none as far as I can see) that’s he’s following a religious track;
    2. I don’t think that we should divert his attention from the main task he’s currently up to;
    3. Nor should we give him too many reasons to continue to evade the core issue.

    Until Post887 sends us his reply, we can only wait as patiently as possible.

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  30. Kevin Beach

    Kevin Beach Senior Member

    I don't think there are elephants in the room so much as red herrings. More than one variant interpretation of some standard religious scriptures can produce beliefs that don't stand up to scientific analysis.

    Berndf's moderator post yesterday was well placed and maybe should be heeded if the thread is to continue.
  31. phosphore Senior Member

    Is this some kind of game or something? I mean discussing on two pages about whether Arabic is the oldest language in the world ever and acting as it was a serious subject for a debate?
  32. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Thanks for your remark. We'll use your words to close this thread.
    It's indeed exactly the point we wanted to make. And alas, since we often receive posts about "X is the oldest language ever", it was a point we had to make.

    Okay, we're done playing, lets' concentrate upon serious and interesting topics.

    If Post887 comes up with a defence, we can re-open this thread.

    Moderator EHL
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
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