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On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 10:48 PM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 21/07/2011 17:32, Gary Shannon wrote:
> [snip]

>
> OK - but 200 000 years is still a long time back.  We
> have manage to more or less reconstruct a hypothetical
> Proto-Indo-European - but getting back beyond that is
> not so easy. I know there are various different Nostratic
> theories around but, as yet, none AFAIK command general
> acceptance.  As for Mitochondrial Eve's vocabulary, that
> can only been speculation at best.

Let me reiterate. Reconstructing Eve's vocabulary is obviously a
ridiculous idea, and utterly pointless. That's why I would never
suggest such a thing.

What I am interested in is making a plausible list of SEMANTIC
CONCEPTS that might have been covered by Eve's language. Again, I have
no interest in, or possible way of knowing, now or forever, what the
sounds, words, mouth noise, etc. where. I don't care what their word
for "fire" was, I only care did they have a word, some word, any word,
that covered the concept of fire.

That's what I've been trying to get at all along. Not what their
language WAS, just what their language might have been ABOUT.

Beginning with what we know for sure, e.g., Eve had no word for
"Internet", and working backwards to put CONCEPTS into a series order.
NOT to date them, but to put them in rough sequence. And certainly not
to know what the words were. That's impossible.  They probably had a
word, some word, any word for "rain", and probably didn't have any
word for "wheel". I was interested in coming up with a "most basic"
word list for a proto-conlang. Kind of like a Swadesh list, but based
on chronology, or hunter-gatherer technology.

--gary