I agree, Nik, partly because I think that the statement "I don't think
the idea of communication would arise" is a bit ridiculous.

Language is only one very specialized form of communication; some
researchers have estimated that the vast majority of information
actually transmitted in a face-to-face conversation is nonverbal.  And
a large amount of nonverbal communication is probably hardwired into
the human brain.  Apes do a *lot* of communicating without a
language-like symbol-system.  And a lot of what we do with language
can be done as well with purely nonverbal means.

I doubt that anyone would "die out" without language.  Their lives
would be comparatively impoverished in some ways, and it would be
fascinating to see to what degree if at all they reinvented something
recognizable as language, but I think it's safe to assume a group of
humans who were never taught language *would* communicate and *would*
establish some kind of social system.

Ed Heil                                    [log in to unmask]

Nik Taylor wrote:

> Boudewijn Rempt wrote:
> > But they had knowledge of communication and probably of language,
> > too - if you'd just dump babies with a group of deaf & dumb adults
> > who have been forbidden to communicate, I don't think the idea of
> > communication would arise.
> I disagree, I think that language is such a fundamental part of human
> nature that language would *have* to arise.  I have a hard time
> imagining how spoken words could be evolved, but I could see how sign
> language could evolve out of a sophisticated game of charades (which is
> essentially the origin of Nicaraguan Sign Language).
> Of course, there's no way to prove this since, fortunately, no one has
> ever done this experiment.
> --
> "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any thing till they were
> sure it would offend no body, there would be very little printed" -
> Benjamin Franklin
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> AIM screen-name: NikTailor