Language is universal. Words are not. Well, except for one word. Huh? That wasn’t a question, that was the word. Huh? It’s the universal expression for “what did you just say?” Don’t believe me? Watch this short video:[youtube http://youtu.be/OnlvPsPyPKk]
Pretty cool, huh? But it’s not just a quick video that proves this. A recent study posted on PLOS ONE goes into all of the details and explains the methods followed to achieve this conclusion. How is it 2013 and we’re just discovering this universally uniting language nugget? Well, “huh” really isn’t a word. Not in the dictionary sense anyway. It’s more of a verbal tic thank anything else, used to express emotion and those words don’t normally make it into the written language. And written language is what is most often used to study similarities between languages.
But why now? My best guess is because of the Internet. Sites like YouTube have allowed linguists to study hundreds of languages all from the comfort of their own home. Someone probably noticed “huh?” pop up in a few and then decided to investigate further. And a greater understanding of that which unites us was achieved as a result. The world is truly a remarkable place.