Mother Language

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posted on May, 28 2004 @ 09:07 PM
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Wonderful posts, Hetman and Amaratine!



Originally posted by gvret
What I am trying to point out tough is the connection ever so subtle between the proto languages of the aforementioned groups in your posts.


Actually, the linguists covered this... and both Amaratine and Hetman referred to that.


Another example I stumbled across is certain similarities between ancient greek and chinese. Now on the surface these two languages have nothing in common- check out these words though and you can draw your own conclusions. (Note thanks to my chinese friend I was able to draw comparisons).

Greek Chinese
hygea (health) yu (to heal)
goulia (sip of water) guliao (a little water)
yios (son) yi (son, descendent)
iskios, skiazomai (shadow, to be afraid) xia (to scare, shadow)
lera (monkey) lei ren (monkey)

Those are simply associations formed by there being only a limited number of sounds that a human can make. It takes more than 'this word sounds like this one and has a similar meaning' to make a connection.


Now, I understand that there are vast differences between various language families, what I am trying to pose though is that there has to be a connection between all the proto languages, if we find that we might be able to establish even the origin of the mother tongue.


As Hetman pointed out, the distance between us and that protolanguage (some 3-5 million years ago) is too far to be able to come up with what it was or to make any determination about what the sounds might have originally meant.

(the presence of the hyoid bone and a certain cranial capacity are needed for the ability for oral speech. www.anth.ucsb.edu...*&nh=9 )




posted on May, 29 2004 @ 06:36 AM
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I'm probably stating the obvious, but does it occur to anyone else that similarities could be the result of borrowing traits between languages of different protos? Suppose that Chinese and Greek are 100% different at first, but minor tribe in India developed a hybrid language from them. A 3rd proto that hybridized into Gr-Ind-ese, then divided later as that tribe fell apart, and its people introduce new minor dialects of greek and chinese, minor aspects of which might later be incorporated by each language. From such a prospect a distinctly Chinese trait could be found in Greek even if the two were totally different otherwise. (Of course I'm not suggesting this for these nations in particular... but as a general possibility for any set of languages that may have a few strange similarities which seem to stop short of common origin while surpassing coincidence. I do not even know if such cases exist though, to be honest. I'm just talkative... aka full of hot air.



posted on May, 29 2004 @ 10:02 PM
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The Vagabond, these cases do indeed exist. The Austro-Asiatic family is a very good example. Khmer for example is a polysyllabic language (though cyllable counts are usually small) with most of the hard work often being done with prefixation and/or infixation. This is the case for most Austro-Asiatic languages.

There is a language in this family called Munda, which is spoken by people situated a lot further west in India. Here the Indo-European influence seems apparent because Munda has not only added suffixation (presumably corresponding to how Indo-European conjugation is performed) but it has very diverse morphology. Verbs for example are inflected with a large number of bits (like tense, number and even location). When I say inflected, that's like in English taking the verb "sleep", which is inflected for tense... for example "slept" is the past tense.

Vietnam on the other hand was a province of China for a long time and it too has been affected. Unlike the other Austro-Asiatic languages it has almost no mophology at all, and is a largely mono-syllabic language, which shows the influence of the Chinese language, a member of the Sino-Tibetan family.

[Edited on 29-5-2004 by hetman]





 
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