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#4871 - 08/02/00 04:03 PM Language origin??
yooper Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 5
I'm a new user to this forum, and thought I'd ask an intriguring, yet somewhat silly question.
How did the first grunts of the caveman turn into the words we use today?? In other words, how did something like uhug, uhug evolve into words like 'table' and 'fire' etc. And who was it that decided that these new sounds will represent objects and ideas? Also, any links would be appreciated.


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#4872 - 08/02/00 04:22 PM Re: Language origin??
tsuwm Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
wow!! why fool around with the little questions?

conjecture abounds. a google search turns up 4240 hits on "origin of language" and 1130 more on "language origin". I feel justified here in saying YSLIU (you should look it up).


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#4873 - 08/02/00 05:39 PM Re: Language origin??
yooper Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 5
Thanks Tsuwm for the info, I should have done this before.


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#4874 - 08/02/00 07:42 PM Re: Language origin??
Jackie Online   content
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Welcome, yooper, and good luck. P'raps you'd be so kind as to let us lazy ones know what you find. I've wondered that very same thing myself. Never occurred to me that I COULD
look it up.


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#4875 - 08/02/00 08:26 PM Re: Language origin??
yooper Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 5
I found a few good links that should help to enlighten us all. The mystery still goes on though. . .
http://www.mtco.com/~mgboyd/origin.htm
http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/babbling000420.html




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#4876 - 08/03/00 09:32 AM Re: Language origin??
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
A book (remember those?) I found interesting on this topic, although I'm not sure I understood it 100%, is Terrence Deacon's "The Symbolic Species". The basic thesis is that the ability to think in symbols came first, enabling the brain and language to evolve in a virtuous spiral, each reinforcing and improving the other.

Bingley
_________________________
Bingley

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#4877 - 08/03/00 10:08 AM Re: Language origin??
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
yooper,
Here's a good site: http://www.emich.edu/~linguist/
It offers "Ask a Linguist" ... if you give it a try, please report back.


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#4878 - 08/04/00 09:39 AM Re: Language origin??
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
>>>>A book (remember those?) I found interesting on this topic, although I'm not sure I understood it 100%, is Terrence Deacon's "The Symbolic Species". The basic thesis is that the ability to think in symbols came first, enabling the brain and language to evolve in a virtuous spiral, each reinforcing and improving the other.

I'm in the process of critiquing the first draft of a book by an old friend of mine, A charming fellow named Arnold Mysior, whose book is called The Triumph of Stupidity.

His take on this is that language evolved only after there was self-awareness. When the first man looked at his reflection in the water and realized that he was that thing in the water, there had to be a language to ask the question, "Who am I? and then and only then there was the birth of language.


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TEd

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#4879 - 08/04/00 04:42 PM Re: Language origin??
yooper Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 5
Hi Jackie. I included some links that go into detail on this subject. What fasinates me is, who, or what group of people decided that a certain group of sounds would mean something?? example: you grunt something to imply meaning to an object or idea, and I grunt another to denote the same thing, who decides who's grunt will be the standard?? Deep questions. . .
I'll be sure the share any further information that I find on this matter.




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#4880 - 08/04/00 04:45 PM Re: Language origin??
yooper Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 5
Thanks for the site Anna!! I'll be sure to check it out in a little while and let you know what I find. Thanks again!



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