Tree of Language

Which came first, word OR verse?
Socio-cultural memes OR verbal language?

Views: 1359

Comment by Strega on January 6, 2013 at 1:07pm

That is an incredible diagram.  I shall be 'stealing' that!  Thank you for posting it.

Comment by Melvinotis on January 6, 2013 at 1:34pm

Nice! I don't know if I can ever use this information, but I feel smarter just looking at it. Do you think the Italic language was only spoken while leaning?

Comment by प्रमोद शाही on January 6, 2013 at 2:43pm

Here's a verse from Tarzan's language.“Ooo-ah-ooo-a-ooo-o-a-o-a-oh!” without any words.. :)
If you'll break the words of different languages under PIE to see their phonetic relations,
Here's something I know..
(Eng: MOther, Hindi: Maa/माँ, Nepali: aaMa/ आमा __
Eng: I/Me, Hindi: Mae/मे , Nepali: Ma/म )

Comment by प्रमोद शाही on January 6, 2013 at 2:59pm

@archaeo.. "drawn images preceded language.
That's true for the languages as we know today but in the evolutionary timeline of Homo-sapiens... Which came 1st, Vocal cords  OR  the hands with fingers to draw those beautiful cave arts :-?

Comment by SteveInCO on January 6, 2013 at 6:36pm
Comment by max stirner on January 6, 2013 at 11:33pm

** Jargon and speculation at best.

So what is a meme? How do memes differ from concepts, ideas, notions, hypotheses, theories -- you might take a look at Marvin Harris's book, Cultural Materialsim in which Harris gives 'meme' a black eye. 'Meme' seems to be a dot of pseduo-science foisted on gullible audiences.

There's a lot of speculation about how speech acts arose -- attempts to use modern apes as proxies for ancient humanoids seem to be stretching hard to fill gaps left by extinction.

Not until humans had to become writers only about 5,000 years ago is there any physical evidence of verbal communication. Of course, it seems reasonable to assume that many thousands of years before had been spent talking away. An abstract reality like language exists only in the brains of its users -- words are made of air and vanish without an empirical trace.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on January 6, 2013 at 11:38pm

To be more accurate, however, English would need to appear on multiple branches.  :D

Comment by Morgan Matthew on January 6, 2013 at 11:51pm


Comment by Gallup's Mirror on January 7, 2013 at 2:37am

An abstract reality like language exists only in the brains of its users -- words are made of air and vanish without an empirical trace.

Language vanishes but the language organ (the brain) occasionally leaves interesting traces. Some animal brains can learn to link sounds with objects or causes with effects. Human brains learn to use symbolic thought to represent and associate things that have no physical correlation, such as the future or a monster in the dark: synthetic logic. Language is just the outward expression of this ability.

That is, it's improbable humans learned to speak symbolically before humans learned to think symbolically, and probable that the ability to do each, in turn, improved the ability to do the other. If we study the evolution of the human brain and the modern anatomical structures and functions of the brain, we can get some idea of when humans (or even pre-humans) first began to speak, based on the fossil record which shows when these structures appeared and developed. Granted, it's imprecise, but it's empirical. The science of human evolutionary genetics may one day be able to improve the estimate considerably.

Comment by प्रमोद शाही on January 7, 2013 at 9:35am

“All other species on this planet are gene machines only. They don’t imitate at all well; we alone are gene machines and meme machines as well.” — Susan Blackmore


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