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Re: old clothing (was: Re: Language superiority...)

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Saturday, October 17, 1998, 3:45
Sally Caves wrote:
> Nik, I don't think that "complex" and "efficient" are mutually exclusive > terms.
Me neither, but all else being equal, less complexity can yield greater efficiency - by which I mean the ability to communicate ideas rapidly and with the least chance for errors. But that's not what I'm aiming at in W., I like unnecessary complexities (but not gratuitous - subjective, I know). Indeed, for greatest efficiency, there'd need to be a lot of complexity. A creole is more complex, and more efficient, than a pidgin, for instance. And both are probably more complex (and more efficient) than a hypothetical H. erectus language (if they had language). My point is this: All groups of humans are equal, therefore their languages are roughly equal. However, let's imagine that some group of H. erectus had somehow survived, and that they had language. Their langauge would be very simple, perhaps a few hundred words, and maybe no embedded clauses. Our languages, on the other hand, are far more complex, and more efficient. They can communicate more ideas, and communicate them more efficiently, with less chance for confusion. If there were a species more intelligent than ourselves, their language would be more complex and more efficient still. However, mind you, I don't believe any such language exists on Earth, nor do I think that any human being has sufficient skill to CREATE such a language. -- "It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father was hanged." - Irish proverb ICQ: 18656696 AOL: NikTailor