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Even today, quadrupeds (or part-time quadrupeds, like apes) cannot
control their breathing, because they need to have their lungs
inflated to stiffen the thorax when using their front legs/arms to
locomote.  All quadruped breathing is perfectly timed to coordinate
with locomotion.

For this reason, it is not possible, for purely mechanical reasons,
for an ape to talk using a modulated stream of breath, the way we do.

I guess similar considerations might enter into Neanderthal speech,
but I don't know.

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Nik Taylor wrote:

> Paul&Kathy wrote:
> > H. neanderthalenis (?) would probably not have had as good breath
> > control as later species (all control from the diaphram (sp?),
> > nothing from the pharynx or larynx).  Utterances are likely to have
> > been very short, probably stress, tone and tenseness (and poss.
> > length?) would not have been phonemic.  Also, they'd have been
> > fairly strictly timed to the natural breath rhythm.
>
> How could they know whether or not that's so?  What clues would there be
> as to how finely they could control their breathing?
>
> --
> "Old linguists never die - they just come to voiceless stops." -
> anonymous
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