NPR

Did Cooking Really Give Us The F-Word?

Some linguists are arguing that the advent of softer food, thousands of years ago, led to changes in biting patterns and eventually, to more frequent use of sounds like "f" and "v" in human language.
A biomechanical model of producing an "f" sound with an overbite (left) compared with an edge-to-edge bite (right). Some linguists are arguing that the advent of softer food, thousands of years ago, led to changes in biting patterns and eventually, to more frequent use of sounds like "f" and "v" in human language. Source: Scott Moisik

Processed foods get blamed for a lot of things. But this week, a group of linguists took it to a whole new level.

To put it crudely, they argue that the invention of processed foods like yogurt and gruel, thousands of years ago, gave us the F-word. Lots of F-words. To be more precise, the researchers think that softer foods led to more frequent use of the sounds "f" and "v" in human languages. (Other experts on language are skeptical; more about that later.)

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