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Max Müller is mentioned as one of the pioneers of the study of the origins of language, as he created a typology for the earlier origin of language theories based on the channel they draw the connection between sounds and meanings upon.

The ding-dong theories were supposed to see the connection in some kind of "natural resonance". I don't think Müller refers to actual sound resonance. In his work, he doesn't mention much more than Wikipedia: "Müller suggested what he called the ding-dong theory, which states that all things have a vibrating natural resonance, echoed somehow by man in his earliest words." This "natural resonance"

Did he meant something along the lines of: "There IS some kind of mysterious connection but we don't know what's behind it."? Or does the "natural resonance" actually refer to the "concept of the word" - (for ex. "kiki" is made of short and intermittent sounds)?

EDIT: No longer valid source switched for Wikipedia.

  • "Ny inlaga" simply means "new attachment". The directory http://www.ling.gu.se/~abelin/ no longer seems to exist, so this seems to have been a very temporary and unofficial publication. There is a person with the same last name at GU who is a professor of linguistics so this seems like more than just a conincidence (it's not a very common last name in Sweden). The publications link on her staff page is a Microsoft Word file but if your pain threhold is higher than mine, perhaps there is an official publication there which this was a draft of. – tripleee Mar 16 '18 at 13:00
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_language says "Müller suggested what he called the ding-dong theory, which states that all things have a vibrating natural resonance, echoed somehow by man in his earliest words" and contrasts this against imitation or onomatopoetic hypotheses. Sounds (sic) to me like this really is about acoustic resonance. – tripleee Mar 16 '18 at 13:05
  • For context, perhaps see also orgtheory.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/… – tripleee Mar 16 '18 at 13:12
  • "resonance", even if limited to accoustics, has more than one dimension. So this could go a long way. Linus Akkenson described the recursiveness of music thus: there's tone, rhythm, arrengement, which all fall in the same regime of time. But arrangement obviously has depth. So, on the one hand, "wood" might sound like wood, whereas "tree" is a little more complex; of course that's subject to sound shift, and G Baum, or PIE *doru "tree" are different, whereas we are interested in much earlier utterance. On the other hand, dialog is a form of call and request. So I have to echo your question! – vectory Dec 10 '19 at 1:35

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