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Questions tagged [evolutionary-linguistics]

Study of the origin and development of languages.

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1answer
127 views

Charles Hockett - 'F' article?

In the Guardian, there is an article on cultural determinants of phonological feature choice. A recent article in Science supposedly supports the hypothesis that the existence of labiodental ...
6
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1answer
74 views

How is the rate of evolution of a language measured?

Have linguists measured the rate of evolution of a language by analyzing the rate of change of the language's words' usages over time? Is there a term for this sort of measurement? For example, ...
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3answers
136 views

Why not just use demonstratives instead of determiners

Along the same lines as Understanding the purpose of determiners/articles/demonstratives in language, wondering why not just use demonstratives everywhere instead of determiners. It looks like the is ...
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1answer
119 views

Why and how do some words come to mean multiple completely unrelated things?

Take an example of the English word 'just'. While it means 'morally fair' in "a just social system", it also means 'a little' in "just less than 8%". For a myriad of colourful meanings of 'just', ...
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3answers
185 views

If speech language was before written language, isn't non verbal before speech?

I'm reading "Introducing Phonetic Science" by Michael Ashby and John Maidment and they say: Speech is the original channel for which human language evolved and all written languages have (or once ...
5
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3answers
485 views

How fast is the number of languages spoken today decreasing/increasing?

Speciation and extinction From one ancestral language (e.g. latin), several languages are born (e.g. spanish, portuguese, french, italian, romanian, ...). Languages therefore speciate. Such ...
3
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1answer
109 views

What's this punctuating feature of some peoples' English?

What exactly is the name and nature of this odd bit of consistent yet seemingly redundant English found in many forms of colloquial English: "She gave me dates, she did!" "The little lads ran home, ...
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0answers
96 views

New Scientist Article on Spoken Language? [closed]

I wondered if anyone had seen this article on Relational Frame Theory in the most recent edition of the New Scientist? It reports an active laboratory based research programme: https://www....
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2answers
66 views

From an evolutionary (language) standpoint, of what use are homonyms?

A homonym is a word which shares the same pronunciation as another word or words, but has a different spelling, e.g. "to", "too", "two". I wonder why languages have homonyms in the first place. What ...
2
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1answer
289 views

What is the origin of declension/conjugation classes?

Languages with declension and conjugation usually have multiple declension and conjugation classes. If one were to invent a language with declension or conjugation, one would probably introduce only ...
11
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1answer
544 views

Where did the discussion of the language faculty between Fitch, Hauser, Chomsky and Pinker and Jackendoff terminate?

Many of you may be familiar with the debate between FHC and PJ on the language faculty. The "discussion", which became quite heated, first appeared as PJ's response to an article in Science that was ...
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6answers
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Are some languages more advanced than others?

I have read about animal communication, particularly in mammals and historical evidence in early hominoids. Naturally, I am always amazed how much information species like dolphins and orcas can ...
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0answers
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What stages of emergence of linguistic features are proposed among the world of scholars?

In biology, there is a simple two stages distinction of the emergence of life: Abiogenesis, the emergence of a (very simple) life form from non-living matter. Evolution, the further emergence of ...
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36 views

Are Biological and Linguistic Evolution Similar? [duplicate]

Natural selection, based on Darwin's theories, states that organisms with characteristics that benefit survival survive while the weaker, less adapted individuals are weeded out. Languages also ...
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2answers
2k views

Is language scientific? [closed]

Is language itself scientific? Is language, grammar, standardized, and prescriptive, made by scientific methods? Are rules, standards, repetitions and patterns of how we speak and right so well ...
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2answers
224 views

Boustrophedonism effects

From the looks of it Boustrophedon texts should be more efficient to read. However, I can't find any modern day research regarding its effects and reasons why it would have fallen out of use in ...
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5answers
952 views

Did a “cave man-style” language ever exist?

I recently had a discussion with a friend about whether a "cave man-style" language was likely to have ever existed. You know, the stereotypical "Fire bad! Need hunt, go tree-place now!" sort of ...
2
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0answers
81 views

Considering languages evolved over time, what could be the initial dataset?

If I assume evolution of language took place over time, I am curious as to what can be the initial population of words or syllable or anything. Lets say I am about to write a algorithm to evolve ...
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3answers
514 views

What are the counterpart of Genotype and phenotype in a language?

Considering that languages evolved just as species did complying with Darwin Natural Selection, what are the Genotype and phenotype when it comes to languages?
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2answers
175 views

Is the evolution & development of language better described by Deleuze concept of the rhizome than the traditional tree?

I originally asked this question on philosophy.stackexchange, but the consensus was that this was better asked here Deleuze & Guattari introduce the idea of the rhizome in their text A thousand ...
9
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2answers
706 views

Are “txt-speak” and “emoticons” examples of normal language evolution?

"txt-speak" appeared because of the need to fit a communication into 160 characters. "Emoticons" appeared due to the need to convey an emotional context with your message so that it is read correctly ...
12
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2answers
943 views

Do atonal languages have a tonal ancestor?

One of the distinctions among languages is the tonal/atonal distinction. Dediu & Ladd (2007) suggest that this split between tonal and atonal languages is related to a recent mutation in the ASPM ...
9
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2answers
725 views

What is the “first language”?

I vaguely remember reading an article about a book that talked about what the "first language" would have consisted of, but I can't seem to recall what the book was or what the language was called. ...
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3answers
619 views

Why are spoken languages more common than signed languages?

As I understand, there is no essential difference between spoken and signed languages. Both have the same kinds of phonetic, morphological, syntactical and semantic complexities, both are prone to ...
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2answers
211 views

When some people spoke proto-XX, what did other people speak?

Tracing back in time through the language hierarchy, I imagine that geographical areas where ancestors of existing "alive" languages were spoken will narrow in, leaving lots of gaps (Since for ...
6
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1answer
947 views

Did Hebrew writing evolve from Egyptian hieroglyphs?

I read somewhere that the Hebrew writing system evolved from Egyptian pictographs. If that's the case, have anyone read about records that trace exact evolution from a pictograph to a Hebrew letter, ...
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4answers
12k views

Monogenesis vs. Polygenesis

By following the comments to another question about the evolution of Khoisan languages, I learned that there is a heated debate in Evolutionary Linguistics about the origin of language. Some quick ...