x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

An Anatolian hypothesis

Historians now believe that many languages can be traced back more than 8,000 years to Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey.

Across history, Turkey has stood at the crossroads between the East and West, a gateway between civilisations. The cultural capital of Istanbul straddles both Europe and Asia, its streets, architecture and society a mix of ancient and modern - with some justification, inhabitants of this very Asian city proudly call it the most beautiful city in Europe.

While Turkey has embraced many cultural influences, it appears the rest of the world may have been shaped by Turkey more than we once knew. By studying 103 ancient and contemporary languages, researchers now believe that English, Greek, Hindi and many other languages can be traced back more than 8,000 years to Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey.

By using research methods similar to those that chart the evolution of diseases across continents, the study published in the journal Science on Thursday supports the "Anatolian hypothesis", which concludes that language was spread through the distribution of farming techniques between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago.

There is still plenty of room for debate as the study's results and methodology are questioned. But would it really be surprise if so much linguistic commonality was traced back to Turkey? Well, the Greeks might think so.