Scholars have made informed, educated guesses at what Shakespeare sounded like in the original pronunciation. The same applies to what Old Norse sounded like from the 9th through the 13th centuries. And even to Beowulf read in Old English, Homer’s Odyssey read in the original Ancient Greek, and The Epic of Gilgamesh read in Akkadian.
But could we push back much further in time? How about 40,000 years into deep history when our close cousins, the Neanderthals, populated the planet?
Above, you can watch a segment of a BBC documentary, Neanderthal: The Rebirth, where a team of scientists “examine the first full skeleton of a neanderthal ever to be discovered and uncover insights into the most likely sound our primitive cousins would have made.” Anatomists, biometric specialists, paleoanthropologists, and vocal experts–they all worked together to analyze the Neanderthal’s vocal apparatus and came to this conclusion: Homo neanderthalensis likely had a surprisingly high-pitched voice (the original High Pitch). It’s on display above.
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