Owen Picton

June 2023

The purpose for this web page is to discuss mans early communication development and suggest the idea that the shorter the number of letters there are in a word, the longer period of time the word has been in existence.  My listed caveman words and more frequently used words that I could think of are only simple and easy to use one syllable words.  The one syllable words I list are two, three, four or five letter words all containing one or two of the letters being vowels.  The shorter the word the more likely a caveman word.  I suggest someone learning English might start with this webpage list of words.  These are the words listed on this webpage, that I could think of and are words that are in the English language.  The word "the" is the most used word in the English language.


I believe that gesturing with ones hands or making a sound came before the ability to speak a language and is the first form of communication.  Then mutations occurred that allowed man to move his mouth to make varies sounds.  All existing languages can be learned by any child.  A child by about the age of 5 knows enough language to communicate but does not have the ability to plan and pass ideas on until starting to become an adult.  Each child must learn the ability to pass on knowledge to the next generation.  I think that man learned enough language to communicate but did not spread out to the whole world until man developed the ability to plan and pass ideas on to the next generation.  Only humans have this ability to plan and pass ideas on to the next generation through language and gestures.  Many think this happened maybe as far back as 200,000 or more years ago.  There are now believed to be over 7,000 spoken languages in the world and all babies have the the ability to learn any one of these languages..

Theory of Passing All Knowledge Learned onto the Next Generation

To become man, then man must have the ability to pass all his known knowledge learned onto the next generation.  Only man passes on what he has learned to the mind of the next generation.  All other living creatures except man do not pass on what they know to the next generation.  An animal can not related what has happen the previous day.  All other living things (animals) must rediscover and learn enough  knowledge to survive each new generation.  There are many mutations that has gone into the mans ability to speak and pass knowledge onto the next generation.  Some of these mutations are suggested in the following discussions.  One of the first was man developing the ability to walk upright and this freeing up mans hands so that he could gesture along with making sounds and making tools.  Another is the physical ability to say words.  The size of the brain must have increased.  I say the brain must have been larger than now to give passing on knowledge a boast.  Man must have been smarter than now.  Man developed more persistence and the ability to stick to a project longer and not give up.  This aided him in hunting, in tool making and in developing language.    Man must have had more resistance to disease than now to give passing on knowledge a boast.  Man must have lived longer than now to give passing on knowledge a boast.  An example is demonstrated by women.  Women live longer now than men and I think the reason is because of the need to pass knowledge onto the next generation through the maternal line.  Man learned tool making and passed it on.  Man mastered fire and passed it on.   Man had to develop a language to speak and understand.  Man must know the next word in a sentence before he speaks the next word.  Even knowing a language is still not enough because man must plan ahead to survive and pass the language onto future generations.  Man is the only living thing to pass on what he has learned to the next generation by word of mouth.  I suggest that the need to live longer, the need to have a larger brain and the need to have more intellectual ability is being reduced by developing the ability to write things down and record them.  Living in a town or city requires less skills than one living individually on ones own.  I personally think we do not live as long or have as large a brain as before writing was invented or cities created because by selection there is less need so nature has reduced the size.  Man exists because of his ability to pass knowledge onto the next generation.  I realize that all the ideas that I have discussed are open to debate and may not be exactly how it was.  Still, one should consider these ideas.

 Theory of Mind

Also consider that in our past a mutation caused the theory of mind ability in a baby.  All babies come to realize that the other persons with them will realize when the baby makes a noise or points that the other person will react.  The other person will respond by doing something to help the baby.  The baby understands this. No other living creature has this mind ability.  For a human to function adequately in this world, our mind must learn as a baby to communicate.

The Great Vowel Shift

The English language pronunciation has been affected over time by how the sound of the vowels are spoken.  Other languages would be more similar if the sound of the vowels were all spoken identical.  Other languages do not seem to have been affected as much over the past same period of years by this vowel shifting. The 12th and 13th century saw the use of French as the court language and English as the peoples language in England.  The 14th through the 18th century saw "The Great Vowel Shift" occur to the English language. The result is that now it is difficult to understand the English language that was spoken in the 14th century even if they are saying the same words but sound different.  It happen slowly over time at different speeds in different places in England.  There are many reasons for this to occurred such as the plague, religion, the printing press and industrialization.

How Old Are Words

I suggest that many one to five letter words may date back to the time when man was a caveman. The shorter the word, the greater the odds that the word is older and the more often the word is used.  There are different time frames each extending further back such as the bronze age, the Indo- European age, start of the farming age, the hunter gather age, caveman age and finally the Neanderthal age.  The one or two letter words may date back to some of our ancestors such as tracing to the Neanderthals.  The idea being that the more letters a word has, the shorter the time that the word has been in use.  The shorter the word, the more common the word, the more likely the words appear to be words that one would expect to be longer in time usage.  I like to think of them as Grunt Words.  Easy to say, easy to use and with very little effort.  How many words does it take to sail a boat across the sea?

Most recently it is said that the first written alphabet was in Hebrew.    Before that each word was represented by a picture.

I also think that the shorter the word the more frequently such a word is used.  So these shorter words have been used a longer period of time and are used more frequently.

Examples of shorter words on this web page are given below.  I came up with the following English one syllable words that are one to five letters in length and containing one or two vowels:

One Letter Vowels

The English language has about 5 vowels and 21 consonants.  The vowels are:

a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y.

All languages have at least 3 vowels, which are a, e and o.  The Greeks were the ones who invented placing written vowels into writing.

What has amazed me is that every one syllable word I listed contains one or two of the above few five or six vowels.  I think that vowels give the tone of the word.  How could language have developed in such an organized manner?  History has it that before about 2,000 years ago, they did not write the vowels that were in a word.  The following are all the one syllable random words that I could think of that ranged from one letter to five letter in size.

One Letter Words

About 1 words out of an unknown number

a, I

Two Letter One Syllable Words 

Are all 1 letter words if not counting the vowels  About 27 words out of an unknown number

am, an, as, at, ax, be, by, do, go, he, hi, if, in, is, it, me, my, no, of, on, or, ox, so, to, up, us, we,

Three Letter One Syllable Words

(Are all 1 or 2 letter words if not counting the vowels) 

I have listed about 373 words that are three letter words.  There are more.   What percentage of these words are caveman words?  By looking at the words, I would guess about a fourth to a third are caveman words.  

add, ace, age, ago, aid, air, ale, all, and, Ann, ant, any, ape, arc, are, arm, art, ash, ask, ate, awl, axe, aye, bad, bag, ban, bar, bat, bay, bed, bee, beg, bet, bib, bid, big, bin, bit, Bob, bog, boo, bow, box, boy, bud, bug, bum, bun, bus, but, buy, bye, cab, cam, can, cap, car, cat, cay, cob. cop, cow, coy, cry, cub, cud, cup, cut, dad, dam, Dan, day, dew, did, die, dig, dip, dim, doe, dog, dot, dry, dud, due, ear, eat, eel, egg, elf, elk, elm, end, eon. eve, ewe, eye, fab, fad, fan, far, fat, fay, fed, fee, few, fib, fie, fig, fin, fit, fix, fly, for, foe, fog, for, fox, fry, fun, fur, gab, gag, gal, gar, gas, gay, gee, get, gin, git, gob, God, got, gum, gun, gut, guy, gym, had, hag, ham, has, hat, hay, haw, hem, hen, her, hex, hid, him, hip, his, hit, hog, hop, hot, how, hub, hug, hum, hut, ice, Ike, ill, ink, inn, irk, its, ivy, jab, jag, jam, Jan, jar, jaw, jet, Jew, jig, Jim, job, jog, joy, jug, keg, key, kid, kin, kit, lab, lad, lag, lap, lay, led, leg, let, lid, lip, lit, log, lot, low, lug, lye. mad, man, map, mar, mat, max, may,  met, mew, mid, mix, mob, mom, mow, mud, mum, nab, nag. nap, nay, net, new, nip, nix, not, now, nut, oak, oar, odd, ode, off, oil, old, one, ore, our, out, owe, owl, own, pad, Pam, pan, par, pat, paw, pay, pea, peg, pen, pet, pew, pie, pig, pin, pit, pod, pop, pot, pox, pug, pun, pup, pus, put, rag, ram, ran, rap, rat, raw, ray, red, rid, rig, rim, rob, rod, rot, row, rub, rug, rum, run, rut, rye, sac, sad, sag, Sam, sap, sat, saw, sax, say, sea, see, set, sew, sex, sin, sip, sit, six, sky, sob, soc, sod, son, sow, sue, sum, sun, tag, tam, tan, tap, tar, tax, tea, ten, the, tie, Tim, tin, tip, toe, Tom, ton, too, top, tow, toy, try, tub, tug, tum, two, ups, urn, ugh, use, wag, war, was, wax, way, web, wet, why, win, won, wow, yam, yap, yaw, yay, yea, yes, yet, yew, yip, you, yuk, zap, zip, zoo,

Three letter words selected from above list that I feel may be more common and likely be older words.  These words may have derived from an older version of the words.  Some are listed below.   What other criteria should one use to make the selection better?  Should they be common names of things (example dog, cat, numbers and certain objects) and action words?  How many of these three letter words are found in other languages (If so, does that give a clue of how old the words are)?  There are many body parts, living things and objects.  Below is possible list.

ape, arm, ash, ate, axe,  bag, bat, bed, bee, bow, box, boy, bug, cap, cat, cow, dad, dam, day, die, dip, dog, ear, eel, elk, elm, eye, fan, fat, fig, fox, fun, God, gut, ham, has, hat, hay, hen, hip, hog, hot, hut, ice, leg, lip, log, man, mom, new, now, nut, oak, old, ore, peg, pen, pig, rag, ram, rat, saw, sea, sin, sit, sky, son, sun, tea, tin, tip, toe, tug, wet,

Four Letter One Syllable Words

(Are all 2 and 3 letter words if not counting the vowels) 

I list about 748 words out of an unknown number, only a smaller fraction of these words are caveman words.  The four letter words have about 46,000 words with 1 vowel and 11,000 words with 2 vowels 

acid, aged, alas, alms, arch, area, back, bail, bait, bake, bald, bale, balk, ball, balm, band, bang, bank, barb, bare, barf, bark, barn, base, bath,  bate, beam, bear, beak, beef, been, beep, beer, bell, belt, bend, best, bide, bill, bind, bird, bite, blew, blow, blue, boar, boat, boil, bold, bolt, bond, bone, book, boom, boot, born, boss, both, bowl, brim, bull, bump, bunk, burn, busy, buzz, byte, cage, cake, calf, call, cane, came, camp, cape, care, cash, cart, case, cave, cell, chew, chin, chop, city, clam, clap, clay, clue, coal, coat, cobs, coil, coin, cold, colt, come, cone, cook, cool, coon, cord, cork, corn, cost, crop, crow, curl, dale, dame, dare, dark, darn, dart, dash, data, date, dawn, daze, dead, deaf, deal, dear, debt, deck, deed, deep, deer, dial, dice, dill, dine, dime, dirt, dire, dish, disk, dock, dole. doll, dome, doom, door, dope, dork, down, drag, draw, drew, drip, drop, drug, drum, duck, duel, duke, dumb, dump, dunk, dupe, each, earl, earn, East, easy, ever, face, fact, fade, fail, fair, fake, fall, fame, fang, fare, farm, fast, fate, fawn, fear, feed, feel, felt, fest, feud, file, fill, find, fine, fire, firm, fish, five, flax, flee, flue, flow, foam, foil, fold, folk, food, fool, foot, ford, fork, form, fort, foul, four, free, frog, from, fuel, fume, fund, funk, furl, fuse, gale, gain, game, gang, gape, gave, gate, gaze, gear, gift, gill, gilt, girl, give, glad, glow, glue, glum, goat, gold, gone, good, goon, gore, grim, grit, gulp, gunk, hack, hail, hair, hale, half, hall, hand, hang, hank, hard, hare, hark, harm, hash, hate, have, haze, head, heap, hear, heat, heck, heel, hell, help, here, hide, high, hill, hind, hire, hiss, hive, hoax, hock, hold, hole, home, hone, honk, hood, hoof, hook, hope, hops, horn, hoot, host, hour, howl, huge, hull, hump, hung, hunk, hunt, hurl, hurt, hymn, idea, iron, itch, jack, jade, jail, jade, Jake, jeep, jerk, jive, Joan, jock, John, jolt, jump, June, junk, just, kale, keen, keep, kept, kill, kind, king, kiss, kite, kiwi, knee, knew, knit, knob, knot, know, lace, lady, lack, laid, lain, lair, lake, lamb, lame, lamp, land, lane, lard, lark, lash, last, late, lava, lawn, lead, leaf, leak, leap, less, lice, life, like, lime, limp, line, link, lire, list, live, load, loaf, loan, lock, lone, long, look, loot, lope, Lord, love, lose, loss, loud, luck, luge, Luke, lump, lung, lure, lust, made, maid, mail, make, male, many, mare, mark, mash, mast, mate, maze, mean, meat, meed, meek, melt, mend, mess, mice, mile, milk, mill, mine, mink, mire, mist, moan, moat, mock, mode, mold, mole, molt, mood, moon, monk, more, moss, most, mote, move, much, muck, mule, must, mute, nail, name, nape, near, neat, neck, need, neat, nice, Nile, nine, node, noon, nope, nose, note, noun, nuke, oath, oats, once, ouch, pace, pack, page, paid, pail, pain, pale, pall, palm, pant, park, part, pass, past, path, peak, peal, peck, peek, peel, peep, pest, pike, pile, pill, pine, pink, pipe, play, pock, poem, pole, pond, pony, pool, poor, pope, pork, post, pour, pray, puff, pull, pump, pure, puss, quit, race, rack, rage, rail, rain, rake, rank, rape, rash, rate, raze, read, real, rear, reed, rice, rich, ride, ring, rink, ripe, road, roam, roar, rock, roil, romp, roof, room, root, rope, rose, ruck, rule, rump, rung, sack, sage, said, sail, sale, same, sand, sang, sank, sash, save, seal, seat, seed, seem, seen, self, sell, send, ship, shoe, shop, shot, show, side, silk, sing, sink,  skin, slap, slob, slop, slow, slug, snow, soak, soap, soar, sock, soft, soil, sold, sole, some, song, soon, soot, sore, sort, soul, sour, sows, spit, spot, star, stop, such, suck, suit, sulk, sung, sure, swam, swim, tack, tail, take, tale, talk, tall, tame, tang, tank, tape, taxi, team, tear, teen, tell, tend, text, than, that, this, tide, tile, till, time, tire, toad, toil, told, tool, tomb, tone, tong, took, tool, tong, tore, tour, toss, tote, town, tram, trap, tray, tree, trim, trip, true, tube, tuck, tune, turn, twig, twin, type, Vail, vain, vale, vamp, vast, vein, verb, very, vice, view, vine, vote, wack, wade, wack, wade, wage, wail, wain, wait, wale, walk, wall, wand, wane, want, ward, ware, warp, warm, warn, wart, wash, wasp, wast, wave, wavy, wear, weed, well, went, wept, were, West, what, when, wide, wife, wild, will, wimp, wind, wine, wing, wink, wipe, wire, wise, wish, with, woke, wolf, wood, wool, word, work, worm, worn, wort, wove, wrap, yaks, yang, yank, yard, yarn, yawn, year, yell, yolk, your, yowl, yuck, yurt, yule, zany, zeal, zinc, zone, zoom, 

Five Letter One Syllable Words

(Are all 3 and 4 letter words if not counting the vowels) 

About 360 words out of an unknown number, only a smaller fraction of these words are caveman words.

baste, batch, beach, beast, beech, birch, birth, black, blame, bland, blank, blare, blast, blaze, bless, blind, blink, block, bluff, boost, booth, bound,  bowel, brace, brain, brass, brave, bread, break, breed, brief, brine, birth, brook, broom, broke, brown, build, bunch, burst, cache, carry, cause, catch, chain, chair, charm, chart, chase, cheap, check, chest, chief, child, chill, chime, chine, chomp, chose, chuck, churn, claim, clank, class, clear, click, climb, clock, close, coach, coast, couch, cough, could, count, court, crash, cream, creek, crime, crook, cross, crowd, crown, curse, curve, dance, death, doubt, dowel, draft, drain, drank, drawn, dream, dress, drill, drink, drive, drone, drove, drown, drunk, eight, error, faith, false, fault, feast, fence, field ,fifth, fight, first, flack, flair, flame, fleet, float, floor, found, frame, frank, fraud, freak, freed, fresh, frill, front, frost, frown, fruit, geese, ghost, gland, glare, glass, glaze, globe, gloom, gloss, glove, goose, grace, grade, grain, grant, grape, grass, grave, great, greed, Greek, green, grief, grime, girth, groom, grope, gross, grown, grunt, guard, guess, guest, guide, halve, harsh, haste, hatch, haunt, heart, hence, horse, hound, house, hunch, joint, juice, knack, knead, kneel, knife, knock, knoll, latch, leach, lease, leech, light, loose, louse, lunch, lurch, march, marsh, match, might, month, moose, mouse, mouth, mound, niece, night, noise, noose, Norse, notch, North, nurse, ounce, paint, paste, peach, pearl, perch, pinch, plain, plate, point, poise, pouch, pound, press, price, prime, print, prize, prone,,proof, punch, purse, queen, quick, ranch, range, reach, reign, rhyme, right, round, route, saint, scale, scene, score, sense, serve, shall, shape, sharp, shark, sheep,,shine, sight, slick, snail, snore, solve, sound, South, space, spare, spark, spear, spill, spire, spoke, spoil, spook, spool, spore, sport, staff, stake, stain, stair, stare, stark, start, steam, steel, steer, stick, still, stink, stock, stole, stone, stood, stool, store, storm, story, strip, stuck, stuff, sword, taste, teach, teeth, tempt, tense, thank, theft, their, these, thick, thief, thigh, thing, think, third, those, three, throw, thumb, tight, toast, tooth, touch, tough, towel, trace, track, trade, trail, train, tramp, tread, treat, trick, troop, truck, truth, twice, voice, vowel, waste, watch, weigh, wheel, where, while, white, world, worse, worth, would, wound, write, wrong, wrote, yield, young, youth, 

How do the five different letter levels of words differ and how are they similar?

I estimate about 1510 total one syllable words are listed on this web page out of an unknown possible number.  You have about 1150 words if not counting the 360 five letter words.  Many people have a vocabulary of about 50,000 total words.

The one and two letter words to me are more relationship  and not referring to objects.  The three letter words start to refer to body parts, and more personal used items and objects.   The four letter words are referring more to objects and tools.  A five letter word list is more difficult to list, takes a larger time to select, much more difficult to think of and I do not think provides as old a word list.  The Indo-European age would go as far back and have five or more letter words such as horse, wagon, wheel and sword. To me many smaller length words refer further back in time and are more caveman word like (more grunt like).  There words evolved over time.

What Type Of Words Are Older 

I want to note that I observed that the two directional four letter words are East and West and the North and South words are five letter words.  For me, this indicates that East and West are more ancient words.  That man traveled more East and West directions over time than North and South as he traveled around the world.

I think animal, food  and body parts words may be some of the oldest.  A short one syllable word that has two different meanings may have one meaning that is much older and be a caveman word.

Looking at the two to five letter words listed for words representing animals, I note the following: The two letter word Ox must be the oldest.  Some of the three letter words ant, ape, bat, bee, cat, cow, doe, dog, eel, elk, fox, ham, hen, hog, owl, pig, pup, ram, rat and sow  must be part of the next to the oldest words.  The four letter words bear, bird, boar, calf, colt, crow, deer, duck, fawn, fish, frog, goat, lamb, lice, mare, mice, mole, mule, pike, pony, pork, seal, slug, and wolf  must be next to the newest of the old.  The five letter words geese, goose, horse, hound, leech, louse, moose, mouse, shark, sheep and snail  must be newest next the old.

The words used for tools, weather and to keep warm are a lot of four letter words such as rock, wood, clay, bone, skin, fire, rain, hail, snow, cold, robe and 3 letter words such as hot, ice, hat and fur.

Looking at other two to five letter words listed for words representing things and items, I note the following: The two letter word Ax must be the oldest.  Some of the three letter words art, ash, axe, bag, bed, box, hat, ice, mud, oil, ore, toy and wax  must be the next to the oldest words.  The four letter words ball, barn, bell, belt, boat, bolt, boot, bowl, cart, coal, coat, coin, dice, dirt, dish, doll, drum, door, fork, game, gold, home, horn, mold, moon,  moss, rain, root, sail, sand, ship, shoe, silk, snow, soot, tomb, wall, and yarn  must be next to the newest of the old.  The five letter words brook, chain, chart, clock, fence, glass, house, juice, knife, lunch, mound, purse, ranch, spear, spool, stone, stool, train, truck, and wheel must be newest next the old.

Looking at the two to five letter words listed for words representing food and plants, I note the following: The two letter words if any must be the oldest.  Some of the three letter words egg, elm, fig, nut, rye and tea  must be the next to the oldest words.  The four letter words beer, cake, corn, food, lime, milk, meat, oats, palm, pine, rice, weed, wine and wood  must be next to the newest of the old.  The five letter words bread, cream, feast, fruit, geese, goose, grain, grape and peach must be newest next the old.

My caveman word list on the internet of randomly selected words are only those that I could think of.   There are more that I have not yet thought of.

Owen Picton

451 16th Street, #116

Blair, Nebraska 68008


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