Language Evolution

Gaby

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
If there is anyone interesting in reading these papers on language evolution, let me know. I downloaded them while searching for something else and don't have the time to look into them. They may or may not be of interest.

Networks uncover hidden lexical borrowing in Indo-European language evolution
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/11/23/rspb.2010.1917.short

The shape and tempo of language evolution
http://simon.net.nz/articles/the-shape-and-tempo-of-language-evolution/

Greenhill_et_al2009-fig1x-small.png


[it seems the second one can be downloaded from that link]
 

Path27

The Force is Strong With This One
Thanks for finding and posting these, Psyche -- they look very interesting and I'd like to read these too!

There are a couple of other papers like this that I found if anyone else wants to try to take a look:

Evolved structure of language shows lineage-specific trends in word-order universals
www.gs.washington.edu/news/Dunn2011.pdf

Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa (abstract only :( )
www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6027/346.abstract

Languages and Genes: Reflections on Biolinguistics and the Nature–Nurture Question
www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~bob/Ladd-Dediu-Kinsella.pdf

This one shows a correlation between tone languages and the genes of their speakers -- it may or may not be useful.
 

Kaigen

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
reading this I had immediately a picture in my mind that you can merge all this languages with using frequency.
For each language a different frequency, like a Japanese fan if you close it you become one Language.
Funny, isn't it? :)
 

Tristan

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Dating the origin of language?

Dating the origin of language using phonemic diversity.
Perreault C, Mathew S.

I could write an introduction the explains how fundamentally important language is but I have a feeling I’d be telling you nothing new. Our spoken language forms the basis of co-operation and is one of the most obvious differences between us and chimps (along with bipedality and a lack of fur).

The obvious importance of language naturally makes most people curious about it. Who first spoke? Why did they decide to? How did they figure it out? When did all this happen? The study of language is a vibrant field that attracts all sorts of people who want to learn about this crucial trait.

Luckily for them language behaves in a manner akin to evolution. It is passed through generations and occasionally changes in the process. This means some evolutionary techniques could be applied to language. For example, if you could measure the rate of this evolution you might be able to work backwards and figure out how long it has been around.

However this potential for evolutionary study is often little more than a scientist-tease. Language is also influenced by a range of social factors that often mask or otherwise alter its evolution. As such there are many cases where researchers think they’re onto something, only for it to turn out to be worthless (or at least not as profound as they thought).

nature02029-f1.2.jpg


a, Majority-rule consensus tree based on the MCMC sample of 1,000 trees. The main language groupings are colour coded. Branch lengths are proportional to the inferred maximum-likelihood estimates of evolutionary change per cognate. Values above each branch (in black) express the bayesian posterior probabilities as a percentage. Values in red show the inferred ages of nodes in years BP. *Italic also includes the French/Iberian subgroup. Panels b–e show the distribution of divergence-time estimates at the root of the Indo-European phylogeny for: b, initial assumption set using all cognate information and most stringent constraints (Anatolian, Tocharian, (Greek, Armenian, Albanian, (Iranian, Indic), (Slavic, Baltic), ((North Germanic, West Germanic), Italic, Celtic))); c, conservative cognate coding with doubtful cognates excluded; d, all cognate sets with minimum topological constraints (Anatolian, Tocharian, (Greek, Armenian, Albanian, (Iranian, Indic), (Slavic, Baltic), (North Germanic, West Germanic), Italic, Celtic)); e, missing data coding with minimum topological constraints and all cognate sets. Shaded bars represent the implied age ranges under the two competing theories of Indo-European origin: blue, Kurgan hypothesis; green, Anatolian farming hypothesis. The relationship between the main language groups in the consensus tree for each analysis is also shown, along with posterior probability values.


However, two researchers think they’ve gotten around such problems and believe they may have figured out when languages first arose. Charles Perreault and Sarah Mathew looked into phonemic diversity, which seems to change at a set rate.

A phoneme is essentially a sound, so phonemic diversity is the number of sounds included in a language. English, for example, includes “th” as in “they” and “uh” as in “cup.” In case you’re still don’t get it (or are just curious) a complete list of English phonemes can be found here.

Unlike other linguistic elements, like words, phonemes aren’t very strongly influenced by culture. Whilst the inventions of the computer has introduced many new words into the English language it hasn’t added any new sounds (except maybe this).

Phonemes have been used before, notably to study where language originated. When a small group moves to a new region they take with them a limited sample of the original population leading to reduced diversity in that pioneering group. This is known as “bottlenecking.”
Bottleneck.jpg


As such the most diversity will be found in older populations whilst groups which split off from this will have reduced diversity. Those who split off from the migratory group will have even less diversity still. Since the most diversity is in Africa, this means that is where language started.

This study also concluded that phonemes accumulate at a faster rate in larger populations and the new research builds on that. If two groups migrate from an ancestral population and one moves to a large area whilst the other goes to a small, isolated island, then the latter’s phonemes will not change as much.

As such the island population acts as an effective “control” population with phoneme diversity similar to the ancestral population. You can then compare this to the other, larger group to see how many new phonemes have arisen.

Then its simply a case of dividing the number of new phonemes by the time since the two groups diverged and boom! You have calculated the rate phonemes change, allowing you to calculate how long it would’ve taken to accumulate all the phonemes in language and thus how language has been around.

diagram.png


A model of change in phonemic diversity through drift and recovery.

At time
pone.0035289.e006.jpg
two small populations, B and C, emigrate from population A and colonize two different regions. Population B settles on a large landmass, and subsequently grows and diversifies linguistically. As a result, the average phonemic diversity of population B increases with time. Conversely, the phonemic diversity of population C remains stable through time because it occupies a small, isolated island. Therefore, the phonemic diversity of population C can be used to approximate what the phonemic diversity of population B would have been at time
pone.0035289.e008.jpg
Large dots denote high phonemic diversity and small dots denote low phonemic diversity.

Therefore all you need to calculate how long language has been around is two related languages, one from a small isolated area and one from a larger area. Also, you need to know how long they have been separate.

The researchers found a situation that provided this information in Southeast Asia. There, genetics suggests that the Andaman islands and mainland Southeast Asia were colonised at roughly the same time by the same group of people ~70,000 years ago.

So they plugged this data into their equation and got the rate at which phonemes accrue. Then they looked at how many phonemes are found in the most phoneme diverse languages (which are apparently the click languages from Africa) and worked out how long it would’ve taken them to get that number of phonemes.

Their results varied depending on how many phonemes they assumed the first language had, with results ranging from between 150-600 thousand years ago.

Sources: http://evoanth.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/dating-the-origin-of-language/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22558135
 

Tristan

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Dating the origin of language?

first-language.png


Date estimates for the origin of present-day languages.

Range estimates are calculated assuming an initial phonemic diversity,
pone.0035289.e057.jpg
of 11 and 29, and a colonization time for Mainland Southeast Asia and Andaman Islands of 45 kya and 65 kya (parameter
pone.0035289.e058.jpg
). The lozenges denote central values, and the error bars represent calculations made with one standard deviation of the rate of phoneme accumulation (parameters
pone.0035289.e059.jpg
and
pone.0035289.e060.jpg
), and the current phonemic diversity of African languages
pone.0035289.e061.jpg
as described in the Results section. White and black lozenges represent results for the linear and exponential models of phonemic gain, respectively.

So can we finally close the case on when language appeared? Sadly not quite yet since this study does have a fair number of flaws.

Importantly, the original phoneme research regarding where language appeared from has been roundly criticised. Without it most of the foundations of this new study are destroyed.

On top of that it would also seem that a range of additional factors influence phoneme diversity. For example, it would seem that languages have a tendency to simplify which would artificially decrease phoneme diversity over time. If phonemes can’t be relied upon as a steady “clock” by which to measure language age then this study is useless.

Further, their phoneme clock was calibrated against a single location. As such there is always the danger that it is not representative of how phonemes change over time in general, so applying these findings generally is pointless.

However, the researchers do acknowledge most of these flaws so full points for their honesty and rigour. But being honest doesn’t make you right and so – as much as I want to reward them for being truthful – there is still much to be skeptical of about this study.

pone.0035289.g002.jpg


Approximate location of the languages included in the Mainland Southeast Asia sample.
The languages located inside the shaded area were excluded from the sample because the region is a potential departure point for the colonization of Andaman Islands or Mainland Southeast Asia
 

Tristan

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Paleolinguistics brings more light on the earliest history of the traditional Eurasian pulse crops

The results of this research indicate that pulses were common among the ancestors of present European nations and that paleolinguistics and its lexicological and etymological analysis may be useful in better understanding the earliest days of traditional Eurasian crops.

Most of the traditional Eurasian pulse crops, such as pea (Pisum sativum L.), lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), field bean (Vicia faba L.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), bitter (Vicia ervilia (L.) Willd.) and common (Vicia sativa L.) vetches and grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.) originate from Near Eastern, Mediterranean and Central Asian centres of diversity. They
were a part of the diets of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers communities. Pulses were also among the first domesticated plant species, carrying out the ‘agricultural revolution’ in post-glacial Europe

http://precedings.nature.com/documents/5837/version/1/files/npre20115837-1.pdf
 

Kisito

Jedi Council Member
We speak by ignorance, in order to diminish our knowledge, because if we truly knew, what good would there be in speaking?
If there were only one way to read, to express ourselves, to articulate ideas, or to interpret signs, there would only be one language and one accent. And yet the variations among accents within a given nation are proof of how developing a single language remains futile. Rather it is because people are isolated that they interpret differently: semantic shifts lead gradually to different languages.
It is because we do not understand the same things that languages split off from one another. From this lack of understanding comes the belief that our own interpretation of things is the right one.
We put into words that which we do not know – we name the unknown – and yet, when we do know, when we know what things really are, what is there to speak of?
Ignorance comes into consciousness when we think, for we think when we do not know something. If we knew, we would not think.
God and the 7D (??) do not think, for they are all-knowing.
As the Cassiopeians say, if a common language existed, it would not be made of speech or of verbs, but of telepathic vibrations as it was at Babel.
At the beginning of the break in humanity lay the verb.
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
Kisito said:
We speak by ignorance, in order to diminish our knowledge, because if we truly knew, what good would there be in speaking?
If there were only one way to read, to express ourselves, to articulate ideas, or to interpret signs, there would only be one language and one accent. And yet the variations among accents within a given nation are proof of how developing a single language remains futile. Rather it is because people are isolated that they interpret differently: semantic shifts lead gradually to different languages.
It is because we do not understand the same things that languages split off from one another. From this lack of understanding comes the belief that our own interpretation of things is the right one.
We put into words that which we do not know – we name the unknown – and yet, when we do know, when we know what things really are, what is there to speak of?
Ignorance comes into consciousness when we think, for we think when we do not know something. If we knew, we would not think.
God and the 7D (??) do not think, for they are all-knowing.
Hi Kisito,could you clarify your point please?

kisito said:
As the Cassiopeians say, if a common language existed, it would not be made of speech or of verbs, but of telepathic vibrations as it was at Babel.

Could you please reference the session in which they said this?
 

irjO

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
anart said:
kisito said:
As the Cassiopeians say, if a common language existed, it would not be made of speech or of verbs, but of telepathic vibrations as it was at Babel.

Could you please reference the session in which they said this?

Yeah.. i don't exactly remember they saying that either..
 

Kisito

Jedi Council Member
Q: (L) What was the event a hundred or so years after the flood of Noah that was described as the confusing of languages, or the tower of Babel?
A: Spiritual confluence.
Q: (L) What purpose did the individuals who came together to build the tower intend for said tower?
A: Electromagnetic concentration of all gravity waves.
Q: (L) And what did they intend to do with these concentrated waves?
A: Mind alteration of masses.
Q: (L) What intention did they have in altering the mind of the masses?
A: Spiritual unification of the masses.
Q: (L) Who were the "gods" that looked down on the tower of Babel, at those who were building it with the intention of unification, and decided to destroy
their works?
A: Lizards.
Q: (L) Okay, so the Lizzies blew up the tower of Babel. What else did they do to the minds of mankind; did they do something causing literal disruption of their
understanding of language?
A: Close.
Q: (L) What tool did they use to accomplish this divisiveness?
A: Brainwashing of masses.
Q: (L) Did they do this through implants and abduction?
A: Partly.

I understand it's that the language is the beginning of the incomprehension and the discord. And it would seem that more the language evolves more it multiplies more it becomes more sophisticated and more it brings us to our loss. At first was the verb seem to be the second fall of the humanity after the fall of Lucifer. Before the verb we communicated, but we did not speak of language.
 

irjO

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Kisito said:
Q: (L) What was the event a hundred or so years after the flood of Noah that was described as the confusing of languages, or the tower of Babel?
A: Spiritual confluence.
Q: (L) What purpose did the individuals who came together to build the tower intend for said tower?
A: Electromagnetic concentration of all gravity waves.
Q: (L) And what did they intend to do with these concentrated waves?
A: Mind alteration of masses.
Q: (L) What intention did they have in altering the mind of the masses?
A: Spiritual unification of the masses.
Q: (L) Who were the "gods" that looked down on the tower of Babel, at those who were building it with the intention of unification, and decided to destroy
their works?
A: Lizards.
Q: (L) Okay, so the Lizzies blew up the tower of Babel. What else did they do to the minds of mankind; did they do something causing literal disruption of their
understanding of language?
A: Close.
Q: (L) What tool did they use to accomplish this divisiveness?
A: Brainwashing of masses.
Q: (L) Did they do this through implants and abduction?
A: Partly.

I understand it's that the language is the beginning of the incomprehension and the discord. And it would seem that more the language evolves more it multiplies more it becomes more sophisticated and more it brings us to our loss. At first was the verb seem to be the second fall of the humanity after the fall of Lucifer. Before the verb we communicated, but we did not speak of language.

How did you came to that conclusion? the history part of the "confusing of languages" it seems more a symbolic history of the real event! they said that the tower of Babel was for a "spiritual unification of the masses" and not the beginning of the language after the tower was destroyed! maybe more languages appeared (or changed) after that event but it does not necessarily mean that because of that event the result is "the incomprehension and the discord", remember that way before that event when the fall of humanity, we became STS and our bodies were altered for that purpose and all this is theoretically speaking because we don't know what exactly happened or how (just little references and the information that the Cs provide)
 

Kisito

Jedi Council Member
First of all saddened for the bad translation which is going to follow.
I'm not going to say that I'm right, I emit hypotheses which seem to me logical. Because if we take the postulate that before Babel there was only a single language, it's necessarily that she must not be evolved well and sophisticated. Of this fact the articulation of the language had to be made only with sounds succins but especially accompanied with vibrations. And it seems to me that this Proto language is the vestige of the telepathy a vibratory language.
We can also notice that the formerold languages one a direct report(relationship) between the sound joint(articulation) and its sense(direction). We also notice that Italian one most old European language, counts no dyslexic among the children and that the English, most evolved languages the sense of which disappeared from the sound articulation, matters most dyslexic to the world.
The English language more than seems the others to have lost its link with the nature or the 7D. It is of this discord that I try to explain, it is also this English language which colonized the whole world including, atomic attack, Palestine which gives this conflict today. It is good this English language which holds the cogs of the economy and the banks and which has to create the FED ( federal bank). As for the German and French language they just come later as for children's rate dyslexics. Israel lost its sound articulatio of origin and had to reinvent a language which doesn't have link anymore! The language became words divested of sense. Senses which the elite imposes us, so that we can think as them.
Babel is the multiplication(increase) of the languages, the division of the men(people) and the loss of their intellectual freedom.
 

Vulcan59

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
The Dispilio tablet was discovered by a professor of prehistoric archaeology, George Xourmouziadis, in 1993 in a Neolithic lake settlement in Northern Greece near the city of Kastoria. A group of people used to occupy the settlement 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. The Dispilio tablet was one of many artefacts that were found in the area, however the importance of the table lies in the fact that it has an unknown written text on it that goes back further than 5,000 BC. The wooden tablet was dated using the C12 method to have been made in 5260 BC, making it significantly older than the writing system used by the Sumerians.


 
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