Originally posted by pepsi78
I dont think people that lived in africa spoke a languege at first , only after they started to migrate from africa to asia they were sparks of
civilisations but still primitive
But there were indications of culture and civilization in africa before the long march out of it. Homo sapiens himself evolved in africa, and its
possible that language existed with one of this antecessors first. Once you get to the level of making relatively complex tools, you have a good
likelyhood of an advanced brain and a language used to instruct new people on how to make those tools.
I say Hebrew because of its advanced qualities and influence on Greek and Aramiac languages foundations.
There is no way hebrew was the first language, if for no other reason than that its an 'advanced' language, that it already has a complex structure
and large vocabulary. Hebrew is part of, if I recall correctly, the afro-semitic branch of languages, shared with arabic, egyptian, and other
languages. There is nothing really indicating that these were the first languages. And certainly evidence for written hebrew far antedates other
Wouldn't the first language go hand in hand with the first "mankind"?
Oh certainly, I don't mean to suggest that Phyrgian is actually the first language.
if humans originated in Central Africa, wouldn't the oldest language be an African language
But, the problem is, the first languages in europe were all replaced by the Indo-European languages (except, of course, basque). THere's no reason
to think that the first language, or even the first language family, surivived into modern times, or even came close. Like I noted, the K!ung
language isn't like most other languages, it represents another radically different possiiblity in terms of language, presumably there are other
completely unknown possibilities, and they've been wiped out.
or one of the other Niger-Congo languages?
If my understanding is correct, these are the Bantu language family? I think that that is generally understood as a 'new' language (relatively
speaking of course, sort of like latin being new). The bantu speaking zulu migrated into
south africa, and encounted the hottentots and
bushmen there, who spoke and entirely different language and were aboriginal to the region, so I think that that itself might argue against the bantu
languages as being the original language, or even a 'branch' of the 'language family' of the original langauge.
The earliest languages are probably lost to history.
If you consider that we can only just barely reconstruct the so called proto-indo-european language, and thats onyl because of the intense focus its
received for a few generations now and the abundance of 'descendant languages' that exist to build the reconstruction with, then it becomes a great
dissapointment to even consider the first language, or even the larger language family of the first language.
Basque isn't the only language isolate
Oh yes, I didn't mean to say its the only isolate in teh world. Heck, sumerian is considered an isolate no?! And thats one of the languages some of
us are considering the oldest effectively known language!
And of course, no one has ever even deciphered the Indus Valley-Harrapan script or even knows what language it was spoken with, and thats another one
of those 'first written languages' (more or less).
Any vertebrate that lives in a pack or herd has community signals understood by others of its community.
An interesting idea that I heard once is that a critical step in language is recognizing that your own utterances can be understood by others or have
an affect on them. So a wolf or a meerkat or a bird makes noise as a reaction against stimuli, and other members hear the sounds and are
'intelligent' enough to recognize and understand it. Or a chimp baby, lost in the grass (this was the example given), will cry out, the mother will
hear it, recognize that its its child in distress, and go to save it, but doesn't
understand enough to be able to give out a reassuring call
to it to keep quite so as not to attract predators or to be quite.
So clearly even the idea of a first language is difficult enough, let alone ever knowing it.
the many linguistic mysteries discovered when the Europeans came into contact with tribes in the Midwest is that some spoke a language that was very
similar to Welsh
it was similar to welsh, and this probably played into their ideas that everyone everywhere started as caucasians (they thought
the egyptians were caucasians, for example).
Now one probably could argue that the earliest human communities were not as heterogenous as they are now, but it's always good to be on guard
against associating a particular variety of person with a specific language.
Indeed, even with reference again to Indo-European, the original idea behind its spread was that some tribe in central asia moved out from their
center, conquering every civilization in its path and replacing the native peoples. But then people started to really realize that a language can
spread without a people spreading. Indeed, there isn't much genetically connecting people in Italy with people in India, to the point that they're
'brothers' from a recent stock (though of course, all humans are descended from one original stock).