At some point, all of our modern languages likely had an origin point, or even more likely, multiple origin points. But linguists struggle with finding it.

Most agree that there was some sort of proto-language that originated somewhere in Eurasia.

Where? Well, there’s discussion a-plenty, which I’m not going to get into here — it’s only relevant because all of our words came from somewhere.

In the case of the raven, the croaky, creaky sounds it makes are most likely some form of imitation Called onomatopeia, it’s a big, random-sounding word that means it imitates a sound. Like boom, pow, and Meow.

According to linguists, it probably started with Proto-Indo-European (PIE), a hypothetical language that our hypothetical ancestors might have spoken. Because, for as long as humans have existed, we have labeled things…and in this case, Proto-German was the most likely origin — *khrabanaz. Which also filtered into old Norse (hrafn) and a multitude of other languages.

Ironically, even though Latin’s word for ravens is different, it describes their calls: croaking and creaking.

Here’s the entry in

”Late Old English ræfenrefen, earlier hræfn (Mercian), hrefn, hræfn (Northumbrian, West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *khrabanaz (source also of Old Norse hrafn, Danish ravn, Dutch raaf, Old High German hraban, German Rabe “raven,” Old English hroc “rook”), from a PIE root imitative of harsh sounds (compare Latin crepare “to creak, clatter,” cornix “crow,” corvus “raven;” Greek korax“raven,” korōnē “crow;” Old Church Slavonic kruku “raven;” Lithuanian krauklys “crow”). Old English, by a normal alteration of -fn, also used hræmnhremm.”