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1

As Janus Bahs Jacquet mentions in a comment, specifically looking at names makes this much more difficult. Names come from a wide variety of languages, and are Anglicized to a wide variety of different extents. This also makes it extremely difficult to figure out their pronunciation in the first place: when you see a surname like "Beauchamp" or &...


2

In order to have any hope of succeeding, you need to first limit the scope of the data. For example the name pronounced [ʃidʒɪnpʰɪŋ] is usually spelled Xi Jinping, and [ɛnvɹ̩ hodʒə] is spelled Enver Hoxha. You might decide that you want to rule out names that are not "English", but then you need a way of deciding if a name is "English". ...


1

An old question, but one which I feel is worth answering for the benefit of other people interested in Semitic etymologies. The answer below me is excellent in stating that the root-and-pattern system enables speakers to more easily recognize allophones, but probably the most important contribution of root-and-pattern morphology to consonant evolution is ...


2

Adding a few bits to other answers and organising. For writing to evolve: A need has to arise Need the means to write things down in a non-perishable way. (At least on the time-scale on which the information has value.) Need a stable group where all can read/write/understand the system and hand the knowledge over to new people. Most of these were realised ...


10

In addition to what Vladimir said: Complex societies could only emerge when agricultural techniques were advanced enough to produce a surplus which could sustain a larger number of craftsmen, tradesmen and, tongue-in-cheek, unproductive managers like nobility and priests. This surplus enabled the emergence of cities and palaces: Places that housed large ...


13

I will answer from a different point of view. I will not care if it happened here at 3500 BC while at the other place at 1500 BC and consider it, as in your question, both as almost at the same time relative to the long history of Homo sapiens sapiens or even the long history of agriculture and larger settlements (Jericho 10000 BC). People did not need make ...


29

From the source: Full writing-systems appear to have been invented independently at least four times in human history: first in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) where cuneiform was used between 3400 and 3300 BC, and shortly afterwards in Egypt at around 3200 BC. By 1300 BC we have evidence of a fully operational writing system in late Shang-dynasty China. ...


2

It is somewhat puzzling, since this reflects the viewpoint of generative grammar that "language" is a specific innate cognitive faculty (made up of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics). I never met the gentleman and I have no idea what he thought of the theory: perhaps someone who knew him can address the question of his beliefs ...


2

Writing is not language. The author means that these concepts are not completely identical. It's like: Musical notes are not music. Musical notes are used to record musical sounds on paper. But music (sounds) is primary. It's the same with language. First came spoken language, and then writing. Some languages did not have writing for a long time, and some ...


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