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I have seen (on television, I like those kinds of documentaries), that
Neanderthals had certain structures on the bottom of their skulls, that
would be their palate, that were strikingly similar to us today. The
scientists spoken to said that this made it very likely that Neanderthals
had some kind of language. Considering their build and nasal cavities, lung
capacity, etc. were a bit different than ours are; they probably would have
sounded a bit different than we do. Perhaps they would have been able to
make phonemes that are impossible for us. That would be exciting for
conlanging. Unfortunately time travel doesn't exist, yet : ) . Too bad we
could learn a lot about ourselves from them, I think.

On Sun, Nov 26, 2017 at 9:25 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Hallo conlangers!
>
> On 25/11/2017 18:28, Raymond Brown wrote:
>
> > On 25/11/2017 13:33, C. Brickner wrote:
> >> Conlangs and conworlds are works of fiction.
> >
> > Very true.  While some may strive for similitude with our world, others
> > will not and may have conworld's at least as fabtastic as the later
> > Terry Prachett's Discworld.
>
> Yes. My conworld - "The Elvenpath", part of the larger (but currently
> rather dormant) collaborative framework known as the "League of Lost
> Languages" - is a version of our world with some ethnic groups and
> languages added, which makes naturalism in my conlangs paramount. The
> Hesperic family, to which Old Albic belongs, is meant as a family which
> is related to IE and in which my personal ideas about the prehistory of
> PIE are true (see below).
>
> >> Surely, PIE is not a first language.
> >
> > It depends what one means by 'first language'  ;)
> >
> > Presicely when PIE was spoken is a matter of debate - some put it as
> > early as the mid 5th millennium BCE, while other give dates as recently
> > as the mid 3rd millennium BCE.  But whichever you go for it is still
> > several millennia after Homo sapiens left Africa some 60 millennia ago!
>
> Very much so. With reconstructing PIE, we look only about five or six
> thousand years into the past,which is *nothing* compared to the age of
> our species.
>
> >
> > PIE can be called _an_ Ursprache only in a relative sense, i.e. the
> > Ursprache or proto-language of the Indo-European family of languages.
> > It was not, of course, the Ursprache of all the languages of Homo
> > sapiens.
>
> Of course not! It has a long and deep prehistory, and some scholars
> attempt to reconstruct earlier stages. It now becomes more and more
> clear that the PIE language described in the standard handbooks
> represents a late stage which was reached only *after* Anatolian had
> begun to go its own way. The state of affairs in Hittite and the other
> Anatolian languages allows and necessitates the reconstruction of an
> earlier stage which is different in some ways (e.g., it may have been a
> split-ergative language with two (not three) genders and one (not three)
> past tense). Some scholars, such as Gamkrelidze & Ivanov or the late
> lamented Jens Elmegård Rasmussen endeavoured to look even deeper, and I
> tried so too, building on their work. My homebrew internal
> reconstruction of pre-ablaut PIE as an agglutinating active-stative
> language with just three vowel phonemes is probably full of problems
> from an academic standpoint (I do not seriously expect to be the next
> Ventris!), but at least, I can use it as a starting point for my conlang
> family Hesperic.
>
> > When Charlie wrote that Senjecas was the Ursprache, I
> > understood himm to mean _the_ original language of mankind - what some
> > in past ages called the 'Adamic language' and, indeed, he has confirmed
> > that in his own conworld this is, indeed, the case.
>
> Such misunderstandings about the term _Ursprache_ or its equivalent
> _protolanguage_ are common, especially in the popular press, where many
> do not realize that historical linguistics and language origins studies
> are two separate disciplines which sometimes use the same words for
> different things. No serious historical linguist believes in the
> reconstructibility of the original human language any more; all such
> "reconstructions" one can find on the Web or elsewhere are from
> crackpots, in most cases young-Earth creationists. I also once found a
> creationist article in which it was claimed that the deepest
> protolanguages reconstructed by historical linguists, such as PIE or
> Proto-Sino-Tibetan, were among the languages created in the Confusion of
> Tongues at Babel, which explains why attempts at deeper reconstructions
> have failed so far.
>
> >> Maybe there were borrowings from Proto-Uralic.
> >
> > Maybe - whatever the case, PIE clearly had many. many millennnia of
> > pre-history behind it and must have had many sister languages (and,
> > indeed, many 'cousin languages').
>
> Right. There are some things that tease linguists of a "Indo-Uralic"
> relationship, but too few to reconstruct that. There are dozens of quite
> obvious lexical lookalikes, but the sound correspondences (
> http://www.frathwiki.com/Indo-Uralic#Sound_correspondences ) look
> exactly like the sound substitutions one would expect from loans from
> PIE to PU (especially the vowels which faithfully reflect such probably
> rather late developments as ablaut grades and vowel-colouring effects of
> laryngeals), so we are almost certainly dealing with loanwords here.
> Yet, there are also seeming correspondences in morphology, which are not
> as easily explained by borrowing!
>
> >> Maybe the speakers borrowed vocables from the Neanderthals.
> >
> > An interesting thought - but Neanderthals became extinct AIUI very many
> > millennia before even the earliest date posited for PIE.  Also, of
> > course, whether Neandetthals had language or not is still a much debated
> > subject and, indeed, has been discussed on this list several times in
> > the past.
>
> Just that. The Neanderthals probably had some kind of languages, but
> they may have been of a more limited complexity than our languages.
> Alas, we don't know. It is indeed possible that the first Homo sapiens
> in Europe borrowed words for local wildlife from Neanderthal languages,
> though. It is thus not inconceivable that some Neanderthal words survive
> until today - though in heavily altered forms due to the many sound
> changes that happened in the meantime! (And there is no way telling.)
>
> --
> ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
> http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html
> "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
>