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Neanderthal and PIE (Long!)

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 7:50
Andreas Johansson skrev:
> Quoting "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...>: > >> "Neanderthal" is too well-ingrained for me to have a problem with it, >> as I've known the word for over 30 years. I still automatically >> pronounce it with a /T/ instead of a /t/, though.. > > Tangentially, the Swedish is _neandertalare_, with a suffix that, among other > functions, forms gentilics, like _stockholmare_ "Stockholmer". As a kid, > however, I misanalyzed it as a compound ending in _talare_ "speaker" (same > ending, here agentive).
Small minds think alike! My German-speaking mother quickly took me out of the misconception, however!
> I don't remember if I had any theory of what a _neander_ > might be or how one goes about speaking it,
It was the name of their language of course! In my young mind the necessity of linguistic diversity over a vast expanse of time and space hadn't emerged. After all whole planets had one language each in the comic books! :-)
> but I certainly took for granted > that neander-speakers must have had a language!
And I still do! In my teens I made up a con-historical scenario in which Modern Man developed in Atlantis and invaded Eurasia and the Americas only when Atlantis began to sibmerge due to the geological effects of tectonic drift in the mid Atlantic, but once they did they quickly overwhelmed the Neanderthalers -- I even anachronistically had the Atlanteans call the to them newly discovered Neanderthalers 'New Men', a name which they had accidentally reapplied to themselves in modern times when their remains were discovered in a place named after a man named Neumann (Graecized Neander)! Incidentally I also made up some further even more improbable ingredients, so that hybrids of Atlanteans and Neanders were usually infertile (like horse/donkey or lion/tiger hybrids) but also had their biological clocks severely messed up, so that they may mature or age extremely quickly or slowly, or have extremely short or long lifespans -- these two factors of aging and lifespan being independent of each other, so that some may e.g. become senile early and then live on in that state for centuries, while others were sempijuvenile. Also they could have different degrees of Atlantean or Neandrian physical features, or even features exaggerated in one or the other direction. These sterile hybrids -- by necessity decimated through the centuries once the Neanders died out, although some found they could interbreed with humans but not with each other -- of course became the Elves, Dwarves, Trolls and gods of the later human mythologies. To ensure the dying out of the Neanders and hybrids alike I had the god- emperor Dyaus (translated Wôdon in the dominant Neander language!) outlaw interbreeding, because he didn't want any more competing 'immortals' created, as well as launching a genocidal policy towards the Neanders, whom he renamed Gigantes. All this in spite of himself being a hybrid (Titan). All similarities with a certain modern dictatorial 'world-conqueror' were non-coincidental -- only Dyaus was unfotunately successful in his suprematist policies! I even had a South American intelligent species developed along similar lines as humans but from feline rather than primate stock. They had the habit of dispatching their dead in a cannibalistic fashion, which explained the rarity of skeletal remains -- bones being crushed and burned. Of course these Jaguar-men survived only in remote places and only if they were more human-like in appearance... Jim Henry skrev: > On Sun, Oct 12, 2008 at 4:03 PM, Michael Poxon <mike@...> wrote: >> Possibly silly way out of this (almost equally >> silly!) mess? Make what we call Neanderthals a >> stranded group of aliens - hence the >> anthropological discontinuity as well - who >> live an awfully long time and breed only after >> a long time as well, so language change is much >> slower and more gradual. At the same time it >> would be an opportunity for a SF scenario, >> quite popular I understand. that posits we >> ourselves are alien offspring! > > To make that halfway plausible, you would have > to posit that the aliens terraformed themselves > to be able to live in Earth gravity, atmosphere, > etc., digest nutrients found in Earth plants and > animals, etc; borrowing a heap of DNA from the > smartest animals they could find, improving on > it and making sure the resulting brains had > enough room for their minds. > So? Once you've allowed for such a vastly improbable thing as interstellar travel you might allow for any amount of genetic engineering, including extreme longevity in order to be able to perform interstellar travel within one lifetime, which would explain how the aliens could pose as divine and impose their language on Terran humans. Such engineered longevity would also explain an extremely slow rate of linguistic change, though that is doubtful, given the amount of change we now know a person's linguistic habits undergo within one human lifespan. Tolkien actually adressed the issue how the language of quasi- immortal beings could change similarly to those of mortal Men, and concluded that although the rate of change was normally slower in Elves' language language was by nature changeful, and that Elves actually progressively forgot their own earlier linguistic habits and remembered their past experiences as if they had already then spoken as they did at the time of recall! He even hints at the surprisingly modern view that the rate of linguistic change increases in times of social upheaval, migration and war -- which probably was observable to someone who had studied the history of English as deeply as he had! Once you have allowed for interstellar travel and genetically engineered longevity you may as well allow that the aliens actually seek out destinations that are geophysically and ecologically similar to their home world. In fact I have a good hunch that life on earth-like planets will be similar exactly because the planets are physically similar -- indeed that life will naturally emerge on any planet with similar conditions to earth, and that that life will be vastly similar or even with necessity similar, and very probably that life is only possible under earth-like conditions. Disclaimer: I'm not a scientist, and this is not science. (However I'm a Buddhist, and the Buddha is said to have stated that there is life similar to that of our world in distant worlds within the astronomically large spatial domain called a 'Buddha Field' -- a galaxy or something even larger?) /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*, c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)