Re: Origin of human language (was Re: Some questions on phonology)
|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, October 16, 2008, 1:03|
Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
>>> but why would humans need to have ever been the, to hijack a
>>> comment from the Proto-Indo-Neanderthal discussion, mammalian counterpart
>> Exactly - no reason at all! In fact if early hominids were "mammalian
>> mockingbirds" that would surely imply a reversion to a state inferior to
>> chimps and, I suspect, (most) other primates.
> Right. There is no valid reason to assume a "mockingbird stage"
> in hominid language evolution. _Australopithecus_ probably
> communicated in a way similar to modern chimpanzees; from there,
> the systems of calls gradually became more complex and more
> grammatical until the first full-fledged languages emerged
> about 100,000 years ago or so. It is possible that early hominids
> used calls reminiscent of other animals' sounds to refer to the
> animals in question, just as there are onomatopoeic words in
> modern human languages, but that's not the same as a "mockingbird
I think you're all taking the "mockingbird" comment out of context. It's
an analogy to how the language of modern humans (non-genetic) differs
from the proposed genetic language of the hypothetical Neanderthals in
this alternate reality who survived up to the point where modern humans
picked up some of their language.