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At 15:28 29/1/98, James Hewitt wrote:
[.....]
>IMHO, When it comes to language, almost all human brains (excluding
>damaged ones) will process audible symbols in very similar ways. The
>exact way in which this processing takes place is not obvious to us now,
>but could very well be seen as the source of 'language universals'. If
>we understood the processes, maybe there would be no argument over the
>'universal features'.
 
I agree - but the significant words are "If we understood the
processes....".  We're learning, but we've still got quite a way to go.
 
>I don't know. It seems to me that 'universals' are
>simply generalisations derived from comparative studies of languages,
>and, like philology itself, is thus subject to interpretation and
>argument.
 
Absolutely - subject to interpretation & argument.
 
[.....]
>>I find it much more plausible that language arose from this matrix of
>>"chattering" as humans came to 'understand' their neighbors; I >suspect
>it was a complex process worthy of an organism that had >evolved over
>millions of millions of years.  I have a suspicion that
>>human language has always been complex.
>
>I would have to agree.
 
'would have to'...?  Don't be so apologetic.
I don't mind your agreeing  :-)
 
>The language processing areas of the brain grew
>steadily over time in our ancestral hominoids. We can only assume that
>this was due to a higher survival rate amongst the good 'babblers'. The
>language would have been developing at the same time to use all the
>power available to it (like Microsoft code), so that by the time
>evolution got round to laying the 'human egg' (in the form of homo
>sapiens) the languages used would have been highly complex like modern
>languages (perhaps more so in many ways, and less so in others).
 
Couldn't have put it better myself!
 
>Cheers,
 
Cheers - and thanks,
Ray.
 
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