OT hominids (was: Why grammar is so complex a subject)
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, December 31, 2005, 17:33|
Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Quoting R A Brown <ray@...>:
>>I would, however, question whether there was ever a time when _hominids_
>>did not have language.
> Unfortunately, the term "hominid" does not have a single, agreed-on definition.
Too influenced by Latin 'homo' (gen. hominis) [common gender] = man (as
opposed to beast or deity), i.e. human being.
> It seems to me very unlikely that early hominins - with non-sunken larynxes,
> chimp-sized brains, and probably without the elaborate neural apparatus to
> control breathing of modern humans - could have had language.
> (In fact, said neural apparatus does not seem to've been in place until very
> late - even H. erectus lacks the expanded spinal cord canal to accomodate the
> extra nerves.)
> Since the discussion has mostly concerned Neanderthals, I however suspect you
> have some even more restricted meaning in mind.
Yes, I did.
> Search Wikipedia for "hominin." There's a chart illustrating
> (possible) descent lines. Interestingly, both humans and chimpanzees
> are hominins!
And Hominidae includes a whole lot more than just humans & chimps!
Yep - I certainly didn't mean all members Hominidae family. I guess I
meant all members of the genus Homo. As for language, I suppose it
depends on what is meant by language ;-)
I understand that (some) social insects have sophisticated communication
systems. Would these be called language, or does language have to be
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