On 22/07/2011 17:16, Gary Shannon wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 6:38 AM, R A
> Brown<[log in to unmask]>  wrote:
>> Yes, but even to know Eve's semantic concepts it seems
>> to me necessary to know something about what her
>> language was like. If, for example, if the "ME UG - ME
>> LIKE YOU PLENTY" school of thought is right, then Eve
>> will have a small basic vocabulary (i.e. set of
>> semantic concepts), just what was necessary for daily
>> survival in her culture. If, like me, you think the
>> language of early Homo sapiens was well developed, she
>> will have a much wider range of semantic concepts (i.e.
>> vocabulary), almost certainly including some abstract
>> concepts.
> I think that like all evolutionary changes, small changes
> accumulated gradually allowing each generation to
> communicate more effectively.

On that point you are I seem to be in complete agreement.
The question is when did the evolution of language begin.
Some consider it began only with the emergence of Homo
sapiens; others, like me, see it as part of an evolutionary
process that probably began earlier.

Obviously the two different views will have an impact on
how we see the Homo sapiens Ursprache - that's the point
I was making.

> I find it inconceivable
> that early man woke up some Tuesday morning with fully
> developed language.

Yep - I agree. Much the same as I find it inconceivable
that Mitochondrial Eve was puzzled that her mother wasn't
human and couldn't speak      :)

> It's very possible that the language
> of 200,000 years ago was well developed and very
> sophisticated. But how did it get to be that way?
> Certainly not all at once. At some point, maybe 100,000
> years earlier, there was some not-quite human animal that
> had some not-quite-a-language. And the transition from
> not-quite language to real language did not happen in 24
> hours, and must have taken place through many
> transitional stages.

It seems to me that we are in complete agreement on all

> On a tangent regarding cartoon caveman speak...
> "ME LIKE YOU PLENTY" is misleading because it is
> ungrammatical in English,

Misleading? Do you mean (a) that my example is a misleading
representation of 'cartoon caveman speak', or (b) that
cartoon caveman speak itself is misleading?

If (b), then I agree entirely - if (a), I disagree.

That it is ungrammatical is part and parcel of such
nonsense.  It is meant to show that primitive Homo sapiens
was too stupid to manage grammar - even though the words
are strung together in a more or less English word order!

> There is a vast difference between the transcript of the
> vocalizations: "Food give" and the transcript of the
> entire sentence including the sign language component:
> "That apple, give to me."

Yep - and I think the "food give" stage was pre-Homo-sapiens.

On 22/07/2011 18:20, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
 > Hallo conlangers!
 > On Friday 22 July 2011 07:48:18, R A Brown wrote:
 >> command general acceptance.  As for Mitochondrial Eve's
 >> vocabulary, that can only been speculation at best.
 > Indeed, indeed.

Yep - nor was I meaning just the "mouth sounds", as Gary
puts it; I meant her inventory of concepts for which she
had words.

 > Proto-Indo-European was spoken about
 > 5,000 or 6,000 years ago; that is much much younger than
 > the first _Homo sapiens_.  The deepest we can look by
 > means of the comparative method is perhaps 10,000 years;
 > the latest common ancestor of Indo-European and Uralic
 > may be that age, but that is still only 1/20 of 200,000
 > years.
 > Several attempts at the reconstruction of "Proto-World"
 > have been published on the Web;

Yes - and in the printed word long before the Internet
was around.

 > none of them does even
 > get close to being worthy of serious discussion (at
 > least, none of those I have seen), and many were just
 > barking mad.

I agree.

 >> ========================================================
On 21/07/2011 18:16, Piermaria Maraziti wrote:
 >>> On 19/07/11 08:31, Gary Shannon wrote:
 >>>> The first question would be which are the
 >>>> "day-one" words? Words that
 >>> /DELURK
 >>> Check this:
 >> I have, and am somewhat under-impressed.  It merely
 >> perpetuates standard caveman stereotype of modern urban
 >> myth.
 > Well, it is just a satirical RPG meant to have fun with
 > clichés about pre-sapiens hominins.  I think the authors
 > do know quite well that those caveman stereotypes are
 > wrong-headed and that "cavemen" never lived
 > contemporaneously with dinosaurs ;)

Well, yes - which is why I was puzzled by the reference to
it in this thread.  One thing is certain, namely that it
has no relevance whatsoever to what Gary is trying to do.

 >> Umm - rather less vocabulary than that used by the UK
 >> Chanel 4 Neanderthals!
 > I have noticed that some of the words listed there sound
 > vaguely Indo-European; in reality, there certainly was
 > no connection whatsoever between Neanderthals and
 > Indo-European languages (this was discussed here in
 > October 2008).

Obviously not. But the Neanderthal language was not, I
think, an attempt to reconstruct actual Neanderthal, but
to give them something that was a bit more realistic then
'cartoon caveman speak.'

One would have liked some information about the grammar
used and some specimen sentences from the script for the
programs.  Does anyone on the list know anything about
Anthony Burgess' language for the film 'Quest for Fire'?

I think Gary will have to do what the makers of the programs
did, i.e. make a decision among the differing theories and
go for it.

I would make a start with the vocabularies and grammar of
of known communities who were still living in a stone-age
hunter gatherer culture and look for some commonality; then
decide where this early community resides and go from there.

Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.