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[NYTimes] Phonetic Clues Hint Language Is Africa-Born

post #1 of 14
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A researcher analyzing the sounds in languages spoken around the world has detected an ancient signal that points to southern Africa as the place where modern human language originated.

The finding fits well with the evidence from fossil skulls and DNA that modern humans originated in Africa. It also implies, though does not prove, that modern language originated only once, an issue of considerable controversy among linguists.

The detection of such an ancient signal in language is surprising. Because words change so rapidly, many linguists think that languages cannot be traced very far back in time. The oldest language tree so far reconstructed, that of the Indo-European family, which includes English, goes back 9,000 years at most.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/sc...e.html?_r=1&hp
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post #2 of 14
I wonder how people find this ''news'', we have seen through the fossil records that humans most likely originated from Africa, why not the other parts of being human, aka Language and culture?
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post #3 of 14
Hmm well Greek dates back at least 9000 years, the max about 14,000 years. Certainly not as old as 50,000 years though.
    
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post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAlex View Post
Hmm well Greek dates back at least 9000 years, the max about 14,000 years. Certainly not as old as 50,000 years though.
Quote:
The oldest language tree so far reconstructed, that of the Indo-European family, which includes English, goes back 9,000 years at most
Not according to the professional linguists in the article, greek can't be older than the base it evolved from.

edit: HHHmmm, you edited that, you said 12,000 yrs first of all...

Plus it's a bit presumptious to assume that greek was the first (or one of the first languages in Europe), people didn't just migrate to Europe and suddenly start talking Greek, they would've brought their own language, spread through out Europe, and then evolved their speach into new languages.

Greek is one of the oldest "modern" languages, but that's not the same thing, and not what the article is talking about.
Edited by purpleannex - 4/15/11 at 3:55am
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post #5 of 14
not really surprised by this, i mean honestly is anyone?
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post #6 of 14
This doesn't surprise me, but it's interesting to hear about it because of how different a lot of languages sound (superficially) from native African languages.
    
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post #7 of 14
You guys are all kind of wrong.

This is news because most people believed that language originated from the fertile crescent area (middle east) and spread outwards creating the three distinct language groups (africa, european and asian). This was called proto-indo-european. Now, I didn't read the article, but if he's got some significant proof that language is derived from Africa originally, we've got a new theory on our hands.

(I remember this from AP Human Geography, and I passed that class, so I think I'm a little qualified to say this)
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post #8 of 14
How am I wrong (since i'm a poster who was here before you) when I haven't made a single comment for or against his theory?

Why do you feel you have any right to comment on this article, if by your own admission, you haven't even bothered reading it?

I read the entire article, and it all seemed logical enough, but not being a linguist, I don't particularly care where the phonemes started from, it's all speculation. Human history doesn't begin to get interesting until cave drawings, actuall artifacts or better still the written word are found.

No one will ever know what these early homonids were saying, who cares how they said it. And as has already been stated, if we're certain man came form Africa, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or in this a case a research professor to guess that language came from Africa too.
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post #9 of 14
No source on-hand but I believe in the out-of-africa theory. People in africa have the deepest genetic pool of geno/phenotypes. Makes sense that we branched out from there.

Climate-wise, it makes sense as well; humans are tropical organisms, we just learned how to change our environment, instead of adapting to it, lol suckers (most other species).
Edited by SyncMaster753 - 4/15/11 at 7:31pm
    
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleannex View Post
How am I wrong (since i'm a poster who was here before you) when I haven't made a single comment for or against his theory?

Why do you feel you have any right to comment on this article, if by your own admission, you haven't even bothered reading it?

I read the entire article, and it all seemed logical enough, but not being a linguist, I don't particularly care where the phonemes started from, it's all speculation. Human history doesn't begin to get interesting until cave drawings, actuall artifacts or better still the written word are found.

No one will ever know what these early homonids were saying, who cares how they said it. And as has already been stated, if we're certain man came form Africa, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or in this a case a research professor to guess that language came from Africa too.
1. I'm commenting on it, I didn't read it. However he was just saying that this is a big discovery. You guys saying "hurr duurr of course it originated in Africa" are being stupid.
2. Way to not use the scientific method. You have to prove something, even if it is logical. Why? Because sometimes things are not logical. And then you have to find out why it is the way it is.
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