On the origin of language and human evolution

homo-sapiens-dispersal

A rather risky preprint at BioRxiv, Language evolution to revolution: the jump from finite communication system with many words to infinite recursive language was associated with acquisition of mental synthesis, by Andrey Vyshedskiy (2017).

Abstract:

There is overwhelming archeological and genetic evidence that modern speech apparatus was acquired by hominins by 600,000 years ago. There is also widespread agreement that behavioral modernity arose around 100,000 years ago. We attempted to answer three crucial questions: (1) what triggered the acquisition of behavioral modernity 100,000 years ago, (2) why there was a long gap between acquisition of modern speech apparatus and

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Prometheus Engineer language in updated alternative version of A Grammar of Modern Indo-European

As we announced yesterday at Dnghu, our book A Grammar of Modern Indo-European, Third Edition has been revised, and the new version of the Proto-Indo-European lexicon has been added and it is available now online and printed at Amazon, without the Etymology section – it is therefore a cheaper, more handy manual.

But, more importantly, we have added a new section and published a parallel Prometheus Edition – Engineer language of the grammar, that includes unprecedented content with discussion of Prometheus’ recreated Late Proto-Indo-European dialect of the Prometheus/Alien/Predator fiction universe. There is also a printed version Read the rest “Prometheus Engineer language in updated alternative version of A Grammar of Modern Indo-European”

A simple FAQ about the “advantages” of Esperanto and other conlang religions: “easy”, “neutral” and “number of speakers”

This is, as requested by a reader of the Association’s website, a concise FAQ about Esperanto’s supposed advantages:

Note: Information and questions are being added to the FAQ thanks to the comments made by visitors.

1. Esperanto has an existing community of speakers, it is used in daily life, it has native speakers…

Sorry, I don’t know any native speaker of Esperanto, that has Esperanto as mother tongue – Only this Wikipedia article and the Ethnologue “estimations” without references apart from the UEA website. In fact, the only people that are said to be “native Esperanto speakers” … Read the rest “A simple FAQ about the “advantages” of Esperanto and other conlang religions: “easy”, “neutral” and “number of speakers””

How many words do we use in daily speech? A new study from the Royal Spanish Academy on language acquisition

According to the members of the Royal Spanish Academy (the Real Academia Española), humanities have experienced a decrease in importance for younger generations, English is becoming predominant, language in general is poorer in the Media and in all public speeches, classical languages disappear, people play less attention to reading, and computer terms are invading everything.

All involved in the research agree that language cannot be confined to any artificial limits, that it is mutable, it evolves and changes. However, they warn: it can also get sick and degrade. The mean Spaniard uses generally no more than 1000 words, … Read the rest “How many words do we use in daily speech? A new study from the Royal Spanish Academy on language acquisition”

How ‘difficult’ (using Esperantist terms) is an inflected language like Proto-Indo-European for Europeans?

For native speakers of most modern Romance languages (apart from some reminiscence of the neuter case), Nordic (Germanic) languages, English, Dutch, or Bulgarian, it is usually considered “difficult” to learn an inflected language like Latin, German or Russian: cases are a priori felt as too strange, too “archaic”, too ‘foreign’ to the own system of expressing ideas. However, for a common German, Baltic, Slavic, Greek speaker, or for non-IE speakers of Basque or Uralic languages (Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian), cases are the only way to express common concepts and ideas, and it was also the common way of expression for speakers … Read the rest “How ‘difficult’ (using Esperantist terms) is an inflected language like Proto-Indo-European for Europeans?”

When a language should be considered artificial – A quick classification of spoken, dead, hypothetical and invented languages

Following Mithridates’ latest post and comment on artificial language compared to revived language, I consider it appropriate to share my point of view on this subject. For me, the schematic classification of languages into “natural” and “artificial” could be made more or less as follows, from ‘most natural’ (1) to ‘most artificial’ (20):

NOTE 1: There are 20 categories, as there could be just 4 (living, dead, reconstructed and invented) or 6, or 15, or a million categories corresponding to one language each, based on thorough statistical studies of vocabulary, grammar, ‘prestige’, etc. Thus, 20 is only the Read the rest “When a language should be considered artificial – A quick classification of spoken, dead, hypothetical and invented languages”

Rhetoric of debates, discussions and arguments: Useful destructive criticism for scientific & academic research, reasons and personal opinions; the example of Proto-Indo-European language revival

Rhetoric (Wikipedia) is the art of harnessing reason, emotions and authority, through language, with a view to persuade an audience and, by persuading, to convince this audience to act, to pass judgement or to identify with given values. The word derives from PIE root wer-, ‘speak’, as in MIE zero-grade wrdhom, ‘word’, or full-grade werdhom, ‘verb’; from wrētōr ρήτωρ (rhētōr), “orator” [built like e.g. wistōr (<*widtor), Gk. ἵστωρ (histōr), “a wise man, one who knows right, a judge” (from which ‘history’), from PIE root weid-, ‘see, know’]; from … Read the rest “Rhetoric of debates, discussions and arguments: Useful destructive criticism for scientific & academic research, reasons and personal opinions; the example of Proto-Indo-European language revival”

Esperanto & other invented languages vs. Indo-European for Europe (and IV): Universal Law of Persistence of Error

A recent comment on the post about the so-called Grin Report – which explained the benefits of having one common language for Europe -, gives (unintentionally, I guess) still more reasons to support a natural language like Proto-Indo-European over Esperanto and similar inventions:

Le meilleur est l’ennemi du bien, ‘The best is the enemy of the good’; Ever since Ido tried to ‘improve’ on Esperanto, many other constructed languages have come along, but none has achieved anything near to what Esperanto has accomplished

I agree. No artificial (‘constructed’) language has achieved what Esperanto has, and no conlang is “better” … Read the rest “Esperanto & other invented languages vs. Indo-European for Europe (and IV): Universal Law of Persistence of Error”