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Old November 14th, 2012, 10:51 PM   #1

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Mother language...did all earths dialects 'evolve' from the same common ancestor?


Did speech develop prior to man's spread from Africa? Are the 20 or so proto languages descendant from one 'Mother tongue'?
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:05 PM   #2

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Based on the research of scientific Adam, all modern humans can be traced back to one man. Scientific Adam had an advantage over other men in way of language capabilities. It is not clear why the offspring of other men died off and his carried on, nor can we determine the extent of his language, but we can conclude that language has a point of origin.

Y-chromosomal Adam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Given the variances in the different languages and dialects around the world, along with the manner in which languages evolve and change, I don't think we can determine what Scientific Adam's language was like, especially since written records commenced tens of thousands of years later.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:07 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake10 View Post
Based on the research of scientific Adam, all modern humans can be traced back to one man. Scientific Adam had an advantage over other men in way of language capabilities. It is not clear why the offspring of other men died off and his carried on, nor can we determine the extent of his language, but we can conclude that language has a point of origin.

Y-chromosomal Adam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Given the variances in the different languages and dialects around the world, along with the manner in which languages evolve and change, I don't think we can determine what Scientific Adam's language was like, especially since written records commenced tens of thousands of years later.
We might be able to find traces of it by searching for anything that all or nearly all languages nowadays share in common. Any globally ubiquitous characteristic likely came from Adam's language, no?
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:20 PM   #4

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We'll likely never know but I attribute the theoretical proto-sapien language to being the language of the 'god's or aliens that created or discovered man
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:21 PM   #5

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We might be able to find traces of it by searching for anything that all or nearly all languages nowadays share in common. Any globally ubiquitous characteristic likely came from Adam's language, no?
It was too long ago, and, even if we did find some commonalities, they could be due to the way the human brain works. I watched a documentary a few months ago about birds and the way they learn to sing. The researchers isolated some baby birds, so they never learned to sing like others. Their chants were terrible, yet their offspring slowly developed chants similar to birds who had learned from their parents in the wild. This indicates that there are built in patterns of language in bird brains, and the same is likely true for humans. Of course, this kind of experiment is far too curel to conduct on people, but we do know that children who reach a certain age without learning language can never obtain the type of fluency the rest of us do, so it's pretty safe to conclude that the human brain has a pattern for learning and developping language.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:27 PM   #6

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Also, to Jake, it was actually a female they traced mankind's migrations back to Africa with.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:28 PM   #7

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It was too long ago, and, even if we did find some commonalities, they could be due to the way the human brain works. I watched a documentary a few months ago about birds and the way they learn to sing. The researchers isolated some baby birds, so they never learned to sing like others. Their chants were terrible, yet their offspring slowly developed chants similar to birds who had learned from their parents in the wild. This indicates that there are built in patterns of language in bird brains, and the same is likely true for humans. Of course, this kind of experiment is far too curel to conduct on people, but we do know that children who reach a certain age without learning language can never obtain the type of fluency the rest of us do, so it's pretty safe to conclude that the human brain has a pattern for learning and developping language.
Yes, I seem to remember watching a documentary a couple years ago about a "feral girl", she was a teenager when they found her when the authorities found her if IIRC. Her father had kept her locked in the basement her whole life, providing her with no interaction with other people. She hadn't learned a language, or absorbed any culture. She was literally feral.

Wish I could remember the name of the documentary, it was interesting stuff.

But anyhow I suppose language had to come from somewhere, and that being the case if there is a "language pattern" in our brain the original language likely followed it as well.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 12:02 AM   #8

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Personally I have great dificulty in understanding anyone between the ages of 13 and 29. At puberty language appears to evolve into gibberish, then into pretentious crap. Providing the speaker doesn't go into politics, it then seems to recover.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 12:18 AM   #9
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I think all language must have evolved from a common proto-language. The alternative is that either people without the capacity for language evolved it independently of each other after spreading around the world; or that people for a long time had the capacity for language; but never used it, only independently developing languages later.

It seems much more likely to me that all speech descends from some Ur-language, but the chance that any trace of it is discernable today is pretty much zero. Consider the huge difference between German and Russian. These are two languages that only diverged from one another about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. During this time they've had much interaction and borrowing of words; as well as both borrowing words from languages like Greek and Latin. For the last thousand years or more they've been written languagues, which slows down evolution; and they've been spoken by large societies, which also has a conservative effect. While we can still see the relationships, they're very different languages.

Consider how much more change can occur over the tens or hundreds of thousands of years, if not longer, since our ancestors all spoke the same language. For the overwhelming majority of this time there would be no writing, and languages would be shared by only small groups - allowing changes to accumulate much more rapidly.

In the vanishingly unlikely event any trace from this Ur-tongue survived in similarities between modern languages, it would be indistinguishable from chance convergence.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 12:37 AM   #10

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I feel that the languages surviving today that share the most similarities to the 'mother language' are the Khoisan languages in parts of Africa, known commonly as the click languages. The Khoi incorporate over 200 sound variations in their speech pattern, wheras English only uses 46. The mother tongue must have been quite sophistocated.
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