Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

words from Su Cheng Zhong

From:lu su <intelligent888@...>
Date:Saturday, August 17, 2002, 3:56
Even George Bernard Shaw subconsciously aware that
increasing sounds’ number can understand the world
better. In his Pygmalion, Higgins can distinguish one
hundred and thirty vowel sounds, so he is smarter than
Pickering. This technique enables Higgins to turn a
flower gird into a princess magically. But do you ever
think? If Higgins’ one hundred and thirty vowel sounds
instead of promoting a flower girl, he uses it in the
transmission of message? Isn’t it what we are looking
forward to? Since a vowel has to be pronounced with a
certain tone, you can’t separate them. It is just like
that you cannot separate vowel with consonant. As
every Mandarin speaker can distinguish four tones of
every vowels, so we may say that every vowel for
English speaker is four vowels for a Mandarin speaker.
The 20 vowels of English are 80 vowels for Mandarin
speaker, and the 35 Chinese vowels are 140 vowels for
Mandarin speaker, 10 vowels more than Higgins’.
Any way, I believe the strongest power of the human
world is reason. Once you violated reason, people call
you nonsense, and with nonsense, a strong army can
turn to weaker, a richer person can turn to poorer.
Some anthropologist believed between the species that
could use language (human) and that couldn’t use
language (animal), there were some species that could
speak little language or speak a backward language.
Later they found some evidence from the discovery of
“For the last thirty years, fossil analysis has been
the dominant approach to the study of the evolution of
speech. Paleoanthropologists have attempted to use the
hominid fossil record to deduce the timing and order
of speech-related adaptations such as the descent of
the larynx and enlargement of cortical regions. This
approach was initiated by the seminal observation by
Lieberman et al. (1969) that the human vocal tract
differs from that in other primates, in having a
lowered larynx (Figure 1), a configuration that allows
humans to make a wider variety of vowels that other
primate species. Soon afterward, Lieberman and Crelin
(1971) used a reconstruction of the Neanderthal soft
tissue vocal tract, based on basicranial anatomy and
some comparative data, to infer that larynx position
in Neanderthals was closer to that of other primates
than of modern humans. This suggested that
Neanderthals could not make certain speech sounds that
are typical of modern human languages. Although those
authors never claimed that Neanderthals lacked
language entirely, the paper spurred a vigorous (and
still ongoing) debate about the speech and language
capacities of Neanderthals, and extinct hominids in
general (Falk 1975, DuBrul 1976, Arensburg et al.
1989, 1990). A review of this literature makes clear
that there is still no general agreement about when
articulate speech came to play the crucial role that
it subserves in modern human language. This is not
surprising, because the vocal tract is largely made up
of soft tissue that does not fossilize, and thus there
are no obvious skeletal indicators that would provide
unambiguous evidence for speech. Thus, despite many
years of hard work, new fossils, and creative new
approaches to analysis, the currently available fossil
data are inconclusive.”

In, there is
an interesting supposition:
“About 100,000 years ago we all were wandering over
the face of the earth, nibbling here and there. Some
of us, members of Homo Erectus, evolved with a
smaller, flatter face, but essentially our brain size
was the same as our Neanderthal cousins. Although we
differed in mild respects physically, both types of
humans behaved similarly. We buried our dead, used
fire and tools, cared for the old ones and raised
kids. We hunted and gathered together on the planet
and lived side by side from 120,000 years ago till
about 30,000 years past. Then came a crucial moment in
our evolution. Homo Sapiens survived and the
Neanderthal did not. This fact is rather curious since
they were bigger and stronger than us, with huge noses
and large muscles. It would seem that they had an
advantage to ensure their survival over us. So why did
we survive and they didn’t?
The Homo Sapiens, having a smaller flatter face with a
narrower nose subsequently lost the accurate sense of
smell that had allowed us to smell danger. Our
olfactory bulb (nerve for smell) is the smallest among
all human species, and when it went, about 14,000
years ago, we were ready to gain speech. This was due
to the fact that we could now lift our lighter heads
upward and forward giving us an advantage in seeing
our prey, and free up the voice box to reverberate
sounds. - -
 Life in and around the camp adjusted to the presence
of the wolf. But an added boon became apparent very
quickly. Since the sense of smell in humans had
reduced their ability to detect oncoming prey, the
noisy wolves sounded the alert when danger was
immanent, because they could smell for miles. This
interdependence was a cozy situation for both. Each
understood the other in an easy symbiosis. For the
wolf this was a good deal and they knew it. They chose
us and in time man's best friend was the result.
Despite our thinking that our favorite Benji
understands the words we use, he still only recognizes
the gestures, movements and the tonal sound of
emotion, as any one who yells at a dog will know. They
refuse to cooperate with irrational humans.”
From the standpoint of empiricism, some one criticise
that this conclusion is not true. They believe that
the soft tissue of Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal are no
different. At least, no body have every seen it. But
from rationalism thinking, it is convincible. It is
the principle of evolutionist. Or we may say no matter
it is true or not, there should be some species
between able and unable to use language. If it were
not the Neanderthal, it would be some species else,
which have not been discovered yet.
I am always wondering wether the computer will be the
next helper of human being? It is just like the dog
(wolf) to Homo Sapiens, by their help we lost some of
our abilities, but on the other hand we developed some
sense. Yet maybe more carefully decoding information
that carried by sounds could be one of them also. Or
in one word, we lose or save some of the visual
ability but for an exchange, we gain a more sensitive
auditory ability. The current human beings of the
world has found no different of speak-listen organ
among different races. Chao Yuan Ren had taught
Chinese language in America for several decades, yet
he found that only one student couldn’t utter the tone
properly. It did not to say that he was unable to use
the tones. For when Chao taught him the first tone of
Mandarin, he always repeating in second tone, and when
taught him the third tone of mandarin, he always
repeating in fourth tone. I thought that it does not
originate from articulate organ but by tradition. The
best example is that when we teach children alphabetic
letters, we set all the 26 letters to music, in order
to help them to remember.
  Currently, the articulate and auditory organ of all
humankind is exactly the same, but no one dare say
that after long period evolution, with different
languages, they will still be the same.
  The power of military can beat a country, the power
of economy can weaken a country, but the power of
reason can cause geno-sui-cide.

Yours Truly
Su Cheng Zhong - Yahoo! Digital How To
- Get the best out of your PC!


Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
bnathyuw <bnathyuw@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>