origins of modern language being pushed back by a factor of ten to maybe 1 million + years ago!!

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posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 07:18 AM
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The study, reported in the journal Frontiers in Language Sciences, pushes back the origins of modern language by a factor of ten – from the often-cited 50,000 years to 500,000 – 1,000,000 years ago – somewhere between the origins of our genus, Homo, some 1.8 million years ago, and the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis.



This reassessment of the evidence goes against a scenario where a single catastrophic mutation in a single individual would suddenly give rise to language, and suggests that a gradual accumulation of biological and cultural innovations is much more plausible.


www.sci-news.com...

In my way of thinking all pack animals communicate to varying degrees.. Watch dolphins hunt or wolves tracking and killing and tell me they are not communicating in some way...Chimps in the wild

Chimpanzees make tools and use them to acquire foods and for social displays; they have sophisticated hunting strategies requiring cooperation, influence and rank; they are status conscious, manipulative and capable of deception; they can learn to use symbols and understand aspects of human language including some relational syntax, concepts of number and numerical sequence;[28] and they are capable of spontaneous planning for a future state or event



The modeling of human language in animals is known as animal language research. Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee, was successfully taught 125 signs during his life, though some disagree on whether this can be constituted as true language. There have been other, more successful animal language projects, such as Kanzi and Koko, as well as some parrots


So to me it is not a stretch at all to assume language of some sort has been with our species since the beginning...Tarzan and Jane seemed to get along just fine with very few words....OK maybe not a great example but you probably get the idea.! Jane was smart in her way and Tarzan was well versed it what they had to do in their habitat to survive; great pair without all the comforts of a modern home.......I am amazed that the study is finally pushing the so called language barrier back so far....Interesting...

I have a little experience in Asia and some of the languages around here are tonal...Which means one simple word can have 9 different meanings (mandarin) or 5 different meaning (Thai) Context kind of makes a different but it is as though they ran out of words and started using descending, flat, rising, rising and falling, and falling tones for the same words...both are very old languages or parts of older languages. Over the last 40 years the Thai language has changed with the times. It used to be a softer language than it is today.. No doubt due to T.V. and everyone trying to make a buck (Baht) has had an effect...Then you add in the slang that has become a normal vocabulary...language is a thing that grows and changes over time... unless it is a dead language...




posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 07:28 AM
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As a "fan" of the development of language I think this is a cool find.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 07:33 AM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 


Good find. It would seem obvious that once people started walking around they'd come up with a sound communication system, if only to say "Give me some of that" or "Come here, handsome". Once the human brain began enlarging then the capacity of uttering and understanding more sounds would have room to both form and process larger amounts of data. Hence, sounds = understanding.

The fellow in my thread about the history of information/communication, linked in my signature, should be hearing about this find.

edit on 1-9-2013 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 08:16 AM
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We all have a universal language through how we react which is often an extension of our emotions. This pure form of language is capable of making a to the point statement that almost any other living creature would be able to understand in order to survive or coexist. You mention animals communicate in packs and so on but I think that can be expanded to all animals communicate with each other, and understand each other too. As humans we tend to make things so complex that we lose sight of basic intuitions that are present all around us. We somehow think our languages are more advanced yet we basically speak in code that still requires that expressive emotion to put across what we are saying. Think of all the times your point has been totally misinterpreted in a text for example, we need smiley faces and LOL sometimes just to help the other understand what our code meant. I would argue our language is still very primitive compared to the growl of a dog or a coiled up snake, those forms of communication are to the point and universal.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 09:14 AM
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Very interesting find!


Makes one wonder how many languages have since vanished,along with the knowledge that was gained.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 09:42 AM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 


I think:

What governs language is what governs everything.
You need consciousness, will, and form (Yahweh, Holy Ghost, Jesus.)

Motion of the universe is consciousness' will creating and reshaping form. That is, everything that moves does so byway of consciousness, will, and form; and language is just motion. Everything that reacts to motion does so because it, too, has awareness, will, and form.

Things that do not react to other things are not aware to them. Your eyes do not react to infrared light because they are not aware of it. Gold does not react to a plethora of forms because it is not aware of them.

The awareness is not consciousness but it was derived from consciousness. Consciousness created the interpreter/awareness just as we create interpreters/awareness in computers.

Thus, motion is language and it has been since the beginning.

added examples:
If I use my consciousness and will to say hello, that is language that your ears are aware of, thus your ears and brain must be aware of my language to create form from them, and if they are, your brain will create form (meaning) of the words. If I write on paper, hello, your eyes and brain must be aware of the words, the motion of my pencil and the light that refracts off of the paper is the motion/language.

And of course my consciousness must use its awareness and will over my brain to use it to speak/communicate/language to my mouth and fingers to produce motion, within my body, that your body is aware of etc and so forth.

Oh and:
The purpose of motion/language is concept (re)production. This is why we, and everything, communicate/move, and even exist - concept (re)production is evolution and is the force behind everything we do. We are becoming God's concept - i.e. evolving into it.
edit on 9/1/2013 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 09:50 AM
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That's a pretty interesting article.
I would bet that simple vocal communication, such as calling goes way back in our species. Calling is common among all primates in order to alert other to the presence of predator or to claim territory.
I can totally see more complex language structures arising before homo h, by the time they show up homo erectus had spread all around reachable world.

I find the study of language very fascinating, there are clear connections between communal vocalizations and the development of language.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 10:11 AM
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Here's a little tidbit from a commentary on this paper,

Fitch, W. Tecumseh.

Studies of the biology of music (as of language) are highly interdisciplinary and demand the integration of diverse strands of evidence. In this paper, I present a comparative perspective on the biology and evolution of music, stressing the value of comparisons both with human language, and with those animal communication systems traditionally termed ‘‘song’’. A comparison of the ‘‘design features’’ of music with those of language reveals substantial overlap, along with some important differences. Most of these differences appear to stem from semantic, rather than structural, factors, suggesting a shared formal core of music and language. I next review various animal communication systems that appear related to human music, either by analogy (bird and whale ‘‘song’’) or potential homology (great ape bimanual drumming). A crucial comparative distinction is between learned, complex signals (like language, music and birdsong) and unlearned signals (like laughter, ape calls, or bird calls). While human vocalizations clearly build upon an acoustic and emotional foundation shared with other primates and mammals, vocal learning has evolved independently in our species since our divergence with chimpanzees. The convergent evolution of vocal learning in other species offers a powerful window into psychological and neural constraints influencing the evolution of complex signaling systems (including both song and speech), while ape drumming presents a fascinating potential homology with human instrumental music. I next discuss the archeological data relevant to music evolution, concluding on the basis of prehistoric bone flutes that instrumental music is at least 40,000 years old, and perhaps much older. I end with a brief review of adaptive functions proposed for music, concluding that no one selective force (e.g., sexual selection) is adequate to explaining all aspects of human music. I suggest that questions about the past function of music are unlikely to be answered definitively and are thus a poor choice as a research focus for biomusicology. In contrast, a comparative approach to music promises rich dividends for our future understanding of the biology and evolution of music.

Link to original paper
www.sciencedirect.com...




And some commentary on the subject


Polysynthetic languages are ubiquitous in the New World and rare in the Old World. In the Old World polysynthetic languages are found mostly in Papua New Guinea and the Caucasus – the two regions characterized just like the New World by extensive linguistic diversity. So, while Grauer describes most of the New World as dominated by solo and unison musical traditions, which are significantly removed from the presumably original Pygmy-Bushmen style (“canonic-echoic” being a rare exception), linguistically American Indians seem to be the closest to the musical stage in the evolution of human communication. This is all assuming Musical Protolanguage theory is correct


anthropogenesis.kinshipstudies.org...

If you find language interesting here a whole collection of articles and commentary on the subject

anthropogenesis.kinshipstudies.org...

edit on 1-9-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)
edit on 1-9-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 10:53 AM
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"This reassessment of the evidence goes against a scenario where a single catastrophic mutation in a single individual would suddenly give rise to language, and suggests that a gradual accumulation of biological and cultural innovations is much more plausible."



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 11:10 AM
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why anyone still takes modern physicists and historians seriously is beyond my insight.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 01:09 PM
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I think it would be in the best interest of historians who do things like this to not feel as if they have made a discovery that will change the history books. Instead, they need to take new information like this as yet another piece of a puzzle that isn't complete yet.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 01:33 PM
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I've never bought into the view that language is something unique to homo sapiens sapiens.

It's just a specialisation of something that many, many species engage in - verbal communication.

And work with the chimps convinces me that they are indeed capable of rudimentary language skills.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by 727Sky
I have a little experience in Asia and some of the languages around here are tonal...Which means one simple word can have 9 different meanings (mandarin) or 5 different meaning (Thai) Context kind of makes a different but it is as though they ran out of words and started using descending, flat, rising, rising and falling, and falling tones for the same words...both are very old languages or parts of older languages. Over the last 40 years the Thai language has changed with the times. It used to be a softer language than it is today.. No doubt due to T.V. and everyone trying to make a buck (Baht) has had an effect...Then you add in the slang that has become a normal vocabulary...language is a thing that grows and changes over time... unless it is a dead language...




I've often wondered what the "original" language might have been, and if our modern ideas about the origins and growth of language are correct.

I find the tonal thing to be very interesting, and I can't help but wonder if this might be an indicator that some of these languages are closer to our origin. I wonder if any other cultures / regions have languages with tonal aspects. African, perhaps...?


The reason I say this, is that prior to the invention of "language" as we now think of it, and its development as a system, communicating using variations in tone / pitch, etc (but not "words") might have been a viable and logical beginning. It also might help explain why certain elements of music are universal. For example-- we tend to perceive "major" chords as being bright, happy, upbeat, exciting. Whereas we tend to perceive minor chords as being sad, subdued, etc. This is universal and independent of culture. But why?

Perhaps because our earliest ancestors communicated pain, love, fear, happiness, through tones.


Just a thought....



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by biggmoneyme
why anyone still takes modern physicists and historians seriously is beyond my insight.


For the former the math supports their contentions and for the later their use of historical evidence. Is there something particular that you don't agree with? As to not disrupt this thread you might want to start a thread here if it fits this forum or elsewhere if not.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 


Interesting but like any technology there could have been other ways for it to be 'invented'.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 02:11 PM
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There's a difference between just communicating and using language. People can communicate by doing rudimentary pantomiming, that does not mean it's language. With many animals, they communicate by using olfactory senses or other senses they have.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 09:58 PM
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Great thread!

I've always said our predecessors were capable of more than we know about.

You can read the academic paper at this link.

It's from the journal "Frontiers in Psychology."


Harte



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 09:10 AM
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But, but, but.....the world is only 6,000 years old! How can this be possible?


Cool find, thank you.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 09:51 AM
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Our modern language, in order to be such, can only be vocalized by the proper voice box. The latter has only been found in our species, the homo sapience. Any animal can voice guttural sounds - they do have various and different communication ways, but that does not make it a language, as the spoken or written word are. Even our so called predecessors did not have the exact same voice box as we do. They, the mainstream science, are still struggling to find "the missing link."
I have always wondered, as the so-called evolution goes, how one species, namely ours, "evolves" from the known humanoid predecessors and yet is weaker physically (bone and muscle constitution being less strong), has 46 chromosomes instead of 48 that the predecessors have, has far less body hair and has the voice box appropriate for language as we know it today.
In most cases it feels to me that modern science is a huge fictional theme park where we dwelve clueless just because we have already paid the ticket to be there.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by Ubei2
Our modern language, in order to be such, can only be vocalized by the proper voice box. The latter has only been found in our species, the homo sapience. Any animal can voice guttural sounds - they do have various and different communication ways, but that does not make it a language, as the spoken or written word are. Even our so called predecessors did not have the exact same voice box as we do. They, the mainstream science, are still struggling to find "the missing link."
I have always wondered, as the so-called evolution goes, how one species, namely ours, "evolves" from the known humanoid predecessors and yet is weaker physically (bone and muscle constitution being less strong), has 46 chromosomes instead of 48 that the predecessors have, has far less body hair and has the voice box appropriate for language as we know it today.
In most cases it feels to me that modern science is a huge fictional theme park where we dwelve clueless just because we have already paid the ticket to be there.


A tad off topic but....

Simple natural selection 'found' that brain was better than brawn

Simple a mutation removed hair and as it didn't kill us off we continued to reproduce, we were also helped in our ability to think and in some climates invented the technology of clothes, solving the no hair problem

Simple because not only in humans but other species - sometimes for reasons not fully understood chromosomes fuse or combine. So we have 23 chromosomes pairs and in one their is evidence of the 'missing' one

If you have further concerns I can recommend the Talkorigin website which lists scientific information to counter non-scientific creationist propaganda





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