Talk:Evolutionary linguistics

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Why "fuzzy navel"?[edit]

Why "fuzzy navel"? 18:36, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

Removed link[edit]

Removed the references link: " Evolution is nothing like biological Evolution" for relevance and precision reasons because the link doesn't point to anything specific about evolutionary linguistics.

Conflating two subjects[edit]

This article is conflating language change with the evolution of the language capacity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree entirely, and I just deleted the offending section. Cgingold (talk) 13:27, 2 August 2008 (UTC)


Removed link to Paleolinguistics from "See also" section by IP The "See also" section should include Wikipedia articles of direct or fairly direct relevance to the subject of the article. This is not the case here. Evolutionary linguistics concerns the origins of spoken human language. Paleolinguistics has more than one meaning; the current article Paleolinguistics takes it in just one of these, used by some members of the Moscow school and a few American linguists, such as John Bengtson. In this meaning, paleolinguistics refers to the study of prehistorical languages at a taxonomic depth greater than that of the families generally accepted by linguists at the present time. But these are two entirely different fields with no connection between them. Someday, perhaps, they will meet up, and it will be possible to relate the origins of language to early forms of human language traced back through time by the comparative method. But at the present time these two avenues of research are totally separate and distinct.

The prevailing view was articulated by the regretted Eugene Helimski (Xelimskij): "It must be stressed in this connection that the problem of language origins (rise of articulatory organs, formation of grammatical means, creation of roots…) belongs, in my opinion, to biology and anthropology rather than to linguistics, and even within this latter (cf. [Décsy 1977–1981]) it has nothing to do with the discipline called comparative and historical linguistics" ("Early Indo-Uralic linguistic relationships", pp. 489-490). Someday, this may change. Personally, I hope so. But we must report accurately the existing situation, which is that there is no connection between "Evolutionary linguistics" and "Paleolinguistics."

There are also serious quality problems with the article Paleolinguistics which would have to be rectified before it would be worth linking anywhere. VikSol (talk) 23:37, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

This is a separate person, that said, I continue; To believe that paleo(prior to writing-expressed language)linguistics can be even theoretically studied seems farfetched to me, personally. if there is evidence of muscle development in the mouth/throat/whathaveyou that might perhaps suggest a vocal ability can't possibly prove that this ability was used for a grammar (it could be used to communicate a variety of warning signals, mimicking the calls of predator species, for instance.) on the other hand, languages based on hand and/or body movements can have complex grammars and be considered languages, and while this ability to articulate manually could easily be conducive to the development of/result from the development of tool-using hands, a body language-based communication system could quite possibly develop prior to hand dexterity, using corporal poses, facial expression (if there was a gesture indicating tense, past/present/future, and a gesture indicating value, and a simple action symbolizing a verb, with a simple point/flick of the eyes/positioning of body/etc. signifying subject, we almost have a language/ability to convey information as we understand it without stretching the imagination. I bet most present day people would pick it up in a second.) A body language of this type may not be useful as a split-second danger-alert method ("aaah!" versus "danger-behind-you" dance) but it would be incredibly useful for building and maintaining and the restructuring to fit changing needs of a social system/hierarchy/society/whatever, which would due to its existence encourage survival/communal rearing of young/extension across generations of hard-won knowledge/the passing on of this interesting trait we share.

I suppose, my verbose and punctuationally-correct-desiring-yet-failing addition was intended to elicit response, either to refute my supposing daydreamings, or to comment/agree/add to them. my personal musing on the origins of verbalized grammar structures/languages as defined by linguists is that it is an extension of emotionally-relevant pitch changes combined with body language, length of vowels, growing ever more complex due to its ability to promote survival (a stretch, but the "dude!" "duuu-de" "dude?" etc. scene in "dude, where's my car" ((I think copied from bill and ted, can't remember seventh grade too well so many years out)) goes to show the ability to coordinate behavior that emotional expression has, even without an abstract grammar. And coordination is our strong point!)

my point is ultimately though that it is impossible to pinpoint whether complex brains instigated language, or that a survival-positive development of language promoted larger brains, whether societal complexity was due to and/or caused this, whether tool use instigated/promoted/was due to this (a beneficial advantage of a complex sign language perhaps augmented by vocalizations/facial expressions leading tot the refinement of tool-use-and-manufacture-capable hands, perhaps even promoting bipedalism? possibly, this shift was made more necessary by environmental change, and a promotion of expressive facial behavior would promote forward-facing eyes, which would encourage predation rather then prey-dation...or did it happen the other way around? did a change in diet due to a changing-yet-increasingly-successful-and-complicated social environment instigate the fleeing from the trees, or did fleeing from the trees encourage the specialized behavior we have blossomed into performing so second-naturedly that even put into a situation of stimulus deprivation we audially hallucinate the sound of voices? in my personal experience with myself and acquaintances in sensory-deprivation tanks, the most common audiohallucination is a person's name (perhaps meaning they identify firstly with the social value structure we create collectively? we depend on a relation to this structure more than sensory information from our limbs/physical extensions.))

once again, I digress, but only to ingress into progress, and hopefully entice a response from someone who knows more than I do so I learn something! I hope that this Wikipedia "talk" section is used for discussion rather than knowledgeable statements, otherwise I won't even get posted or may have upset someone. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stoneturningape (talkcontribs) 08:58, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Great if[edit]

This article would be great if it used even a handful of the sources in the references section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:44, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Student comment[edit]

'--Kadoru (talk) 00:36, 15 February 2013 (UTC)Hi all--my name is Katie. I'm an anthropology student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA (USA) taking a course called Language and Species. As a final project a small group of us will be editing, updating, and enhancing this page. We would welcome the support and input of anyone else interested in the subject, as well as any new information you may have come across. Thanks, and hope to "talk" with everyone soon. Kadoru.'Kadoru (talk