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#40061 - 09/05/01 11:36 AM Re: What's the Word?  
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Flatlander Offline
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I propose that the true first-word would have something to do with A. Survival -- a noise to signify danger or fear, for instance...

I think this is on the right track. I'm basing my assumption on that fact I know some animals have specific "danger" calls (blue jays, f'rinstance), but I don't know of any animals that have equivalents of your other two suggestions.

Happy to be corrected, though!


#40062 - 09/05/01 12:33 PM Re: Fools vs. Angels  
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Somehow I feel that we Fools of this board are treading to
where the linguistic Angels fear.

Where's NicholasW when you need him?



#40063 - 09/05/01 06:36 PM Re: What's the Word?  
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I think this is on the right track. I'm basing my assumption on that fact I know some animals have specific
"danger" calls (blue jays, f'rinstance), but I don't know of any animals that have equivalents of your other two
suggestions.


Good point, Flatlander! I think, then, we could safely narrow our search down to this one. Unless, of course, someone comes up with a better theory, I'd welcome it.


#40064 - 09/05/01 07:25 PM Re: What's the Word? Just musing-  
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wow Offline
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some animals have specific "danger" calls (blue jays, f'rinstance),

Hmmmm, Can we call a "cry" a word? My dog growls when she apprehends a danger and shows her teeth.
In music it is believed by many that drum beats (or rhythm) was the first music.
Now, following this along -- is the "cry" of an animal the precursor of speach or a word in and by itself?
Startled by a person coming up behind me unexpectedly, I might scream or squawk or gasp. Are these cries words?

From viewing PBS and National Geographic specials on TV I've learned that many believe the Great Apes have a language that manifests as varying grunts, squawk and screeches. Words-?- even though they understand the meaning among themselves?
Or are the "cries" all merely signals of a state of mind, a basic communication-without-words as we apprehend words to be?
Then there is Koko the ape who has apparently learned sign language! If this is proved for sure and she teaches an offspring to sign we may have proof of the intellligence of the Great Apes at work.
Or is it just a difference in vocal chords that allowed humans to develop words for things -- a language?
And someday will the vocal chords of beings similar to humans be altered - surgically or genetically - to give them the ability to speak words?
And what will they say to us?
(/musings )


#40065 - 09/06/01 02:21 AM Re: What's the Word? Just musing-  
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Bobyoungbalt Offline
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The inclusion of sign language, as brought up by wow, takes us into new worlds in the nature of language. I doubt that anyone would argue that sign language is not language, or words, in the way that vocally uttered or written language is. But on the other hand, once you admit that sign language is the same, is the mating dance of the blue-footed booby a form of language?


#40066 - 09/06/01 03:01 AM  
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Max Quordlepleen Offline
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#40067 - 09/06/01 05:23 AM Re: What's the Word? Just musing-  
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Bingley Offline
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Jakarta
In reply to:

But on the other hand, once you admit that sign language is the same, is the mating dance of the blue-footed booby a form of language?


Language has certain features that the mating dance of the flat-footed booby probably does not have. For example, language can be used to talk about something that is not present. Do flat-footed boobies do their mating dance if no potential mate is present?

Bingley



Bingley
#40068 - 09/06/01 08:24 AM Re: Fools vs. Angels  
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NicholasW Offline
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Where's NicholasW when you need him?

Hiding from this thread.


#40069 - 09/06/01 11:01 AM Re: What's the Word? Just musing-  
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maverick Offline
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Dr Laura-Ann Petitto

Yes, indeed® Max. I came here intending to post this, but you have preyarted me..!

Well, it would seem that sign language and vocalised speech share use of a key part of the brain….

http://wordsmith.org/board/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=miscellany&Number=33164&Search=true&Forum=
All_Forums&Words=sign language&Match=Entire Phrase&Searchpage=0&Limit=25&Old=6months


(look for the quote about sign language by Laura-Anne Petito)

And this may be a form of pattern recognition uniquely developed in our brains.



#40070 - 09/06/01 11:12 AM Word up, y'all homies!  
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OK, who widened the window?


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