Language Facts

Is there a universal word?!

Is there a universal word? Is that even possible?

Languages are so incredibly diverse that it’s tough to believe that every language has a word in common. However, according to the cross-linguist study made by the
Max Planck Institute, it is true! The word is…


After analysing short informal conversations in 31 dialects worldwide, they have come to the conclusion that the interjection ‘huh’ is, possibly, a universal word! ‘Huh’, and its variants, have very similar forms and functions in most spoken languages all around the world! This is a remarkable discovery, and quite difficult to believe really, because most unrelated languages sound entirely different. Compare, for example, the word cow in other European languages:  

Despite the fact these languages are spoken on the same continent, they all look and sound different from each other!

Some fought this theory by saying that ‘huh’ was simply a human sound, like sneezing. After much consideration, we, at the Marlow Language Centre, believe that isn’t the case. ‘Huh’ is used in communication rather than simply signalling bodily functions. It’s a simple questioning word that means that you have no clue what has been said!

What do you you think? Do you think ‘huh’ is a word or, perhaps, is it just a sound produced to show that you didn’t understand? However, isn’t that what language is, sounds that convey meaning? 

ProTip: Everywhere you go, if someone speaks and you don’t understand, all you have to say is ‘huh’ and everyone across the globe will know exactly what you mean.

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