The first answer is baffling. Black is not older than white. Hear is not older than speak. This bit made me lol:
Before the year 900, language skills were still in the Alpha or Beta stages of development, but people had to find themselves wanting to identify an object that may (or may not) have had a proper name (yet.) So, they pointed or gestured to something they wanted—and this was born!
Before 900, we were grunting like cavemen! Take that Plato!
It is an impossible to answer question.This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
“What is the oldest word in English?” is impossible to answer for the same reason that “what is the oldest language?” is impossible to answer. All non-creole languages extend back to before recorded history, so most words do as well.
But “what are the oldest words in English?” is answerable. They are the words that were not borrowed. So black and white and probably derived from Proto-Indo-European but chartreuse was borrowed from French. So black and white are older English words than chartreuse; they have been part of English longer.