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Re: Darwinistic or ancient strata?

From:tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 22, 2005, 20:30
--- In, Raivo Seppo <uiracocha@H...> wrote:
> > Does some conlangs, or even natlangs, reflect Darwinistic views? That > is, > the words designating apes and men, birds and reptiles, could they be > cognate? I don´t mean figurativeness ("apeman") but really ancient > strata in > language.
(Almost?) Every language's naming system for the species its speakers are familiar with embodies a folk taxonomy. This folk taxonomy may, or may not, be cladistic. Whether or not it is cladistic, it may, or may not, be consistent with some theory of evolution. If it is consistent with some theory of evolution (such as Hugo de Vries's mutation theory, Lamarckianism, Lysenkoism, genetic drift, or whatever), this theory may, or may not, have evolution be responsive to the environment; and may, or may not, have evolution be selective and based on selection of survivors. If all of those "may or may not"s are in fact "may"s, then, the system will be consistent with -- but not require -- a Darwinian explanation for evolution. As a statistical universal, People's folk taxonomies usually have five levels -- unlike the Linnaean scientific taxonomy, with its seven (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species). (Actually, there are many more; its just that, these are the seven that every species has. There are some groups intermediate between, for instance, Kingdom and Phylum, or Class and Order, or Family and Genus.) Another statistical universal; The most-commonly-used level in everyday speech will almost always be the middle level. See Folk & pre-Linnaean taxonomy (21-Jan-03) Also, read 0/ijn_00000267_00.pdf It has a lot of good stuff in it that will help you answer your questions for yourself, and it's short. 0/ijn_00000122_00.doc is longer, but probably clearer, or at least simpler to get into. ----- Tom H.C. in MI