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Invisiblekaiowas
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when humans first started thinking for themselves
    #2391963 - 03/01/04 07:04 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Sure evolution has talked about our opposable thumbs and our throwing arms, but when did man make that leap when it not only started using tools, but gave the tools a name! When was language ever needed? when was it essential for human survival that we created a language? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if we are talking about evolution, it is normally out of necessity. 

When was it a necessity to call a "hammer" a hammer?  now I'm not saying the first huans spoke in english of course :laugh:. then it came to a point where a hammer just wasn't good enough, it had to be a certain way so it is more  effective than the previous one.

did nature cause this??  was this out of necessity? 

when was it needed for a person to utter the words in any language and make a concept that "I AM" ?  :stoned:


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Annnnnnd I had a light saber and my friend was there and I said "you look like an indian" and he said "you look like satan" and he found a stick and a rock and he named the rock ooga booga and he named the stick Stick and we both thought that was pretty funny. We got eaten alive by mosquitos but didn't notice til the next day. I stepped on some glass while wading in the swamp and cut my foot open, didn't bother me til the next day either....yeah it was a good time, ended the night by buying some liquor for minors and drinking nips and going to he diner and eating chicken fingers, and then I went home and went to bed.---senior doobie


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Invisible2Experimental
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2392119 - 03/01/04 07:59 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

"When was language ever needed?"

When "man" first came to earth, he was still in spirit form, able to traverse the planet un-hendered. At that time, communication was all via thoughts, and there was no need for speech. However, as time went by (1000's of years) man lost his concreete foundation with the One, and thus created speach. The global speech was the same, and everyone spoke it. Those who remembered the old ways continued thier esp communications , but the practice was soon forgotten.


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2392440 - 03/01/04 09:56 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

When was language ever needed? when was it essential for human survival that we created a language?




Well, humans need to distinguish one thing from the other for purposes of pragmatic social communication. having a word for "OK to eat" and a different word for "poisonous" would definitely have survival advantages. But thats just one example among many.

You have to realize that language was not automatically as great as it is now. I mean, think about it: the Acura NSX coudn't have been built if someone didnt first build the Ford Model T.

the early languages I imagine to be real primitive, but like life itself, they evolved.

Maybe the evolution of language was fueled by splitting tribes and migration.

language is a process of distinction- distinguishing one thing from another. I'm sure the early forms of distincion were quite primitive, but then the tribe split and went their separate ways. One half of the tribe's primitive language evolved one way, the other half evolved a different way. Multiply this by a few thousand splits in the course of say, 10,000 years, and you end up with al these different evolutionary branches of early language. They would undoubtedly conglomerate into main arteries whenever thre was a tribal merger or any other kind of interaction between two or more tribes.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2394226 - 03/02/04 09:49 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Language didn't have to be necessary for survival, just advantageous. There is a great deal of real research on this by real scholars. Do not under any circumstances pay attention to these fools if you want an informed discourse on the matter. My university had a DEPARTMENT of linguistics. Linguistics is not the study of languages, it's the study of LANGUAGE, including comparative linguistics, physiology of language production, evolution and acquisition. It was the main subset of my psych degree.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2394264 - 03/02/04 10:02 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

If you are curious read Steven Pinker "The Language Instinct." It's a great book written for regular people. Or check out webe sites, for instance the unofficial one contains abstracts of his books. Enjoy, I think language is what makes us special.


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Invisiblemuhurgle
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2394293 - 03/02/04 10:11 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Susan Blackmore has written a book (The Meme Machine) which has got some interesting theories on how language and the brain evolved once the concept of imitation evolved.

The idea is that once we could imitate, we got a new kind of replicator which could exert evolutionary pressure on the genes.

In light of this, it's not necessary to explain evolution of language in terms of genetic survival, but as an independent driving force.

Interesting ideas, although it's not 'hard science'.


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"To make this mundane world sublime
Take half a gram of phanerothyme."

Aldous Huxley


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Offlineobfuscatelesol
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2394369 - 03/02/04 10:44 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

In a book called "Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism" by Daniel Pinchbeck, it is suggested that the development of language was actually catalyzed by hallucinogens, possibly amanita muscaria mushrooms.

Now if it's true that long ago humans were all "one with the world" (there are numerous ways to word that and I don't think that's the best), a feat that many spend their whole lives trying to accomplish these days, and if it's true that hallucinogens did cause the beginning of language, it would seem to me that hallucinogens actually de-evolved humans.

This topic is a very interesting one, and unfortunately I am not too well-read on linguistics and its history. Language plays an immense role in all of our lives; the entire structure of everything the average person knows and loves is based on language, including knowledge and love. Let's hear some other opinions.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: obfuscatelesol]
    #2394408 - 03/02/04 11:01 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I'm serious you guys, there is real science in the study of language. If you are really interested in this and don't want to take a whole course of study in linguistics, read Pinker. The book is written for regular people but not down to them.

I think I heard of "The Meme Machine" and dismissed it as, unfortunately not science, maybe I'll lok again. Pinchbeck, however is lunatic. Does he think mushrooms caused a physical change in the human brain and larynx? I love mushrooms as much as anyone but they don't do that.


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OfflineThe_Visionaire
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2394420 - 03/02/04 11:06 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

In the notion of language there is the concept of abstraction. To name something and be able to speak of it, although it is not directly experienced. The human ability to abstract in time is supposed to be a property of the neo-cortex, so there may be a connection here?

There are evidence that animals have a primitive language, tough. Certain sounds that some animals (cant remember the name of these, ferrets standing on two sort of..) made in dangerous situations was recorded. It turned out that they had different "words" for different predators! When the record was played their immidiate behaviour changed as to how they would have reacted if the predator belonging to the sound had been spotted for real.

But the "ferrets on two legs" did not talk about the predators when they were not present. The language was only an extension of immediate experience, not an abstraction from it. That may imply that abstraction in time, the perception of the order of time, is one of the reasons to why the humans are unique.


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There are no differences between men and gods,
one blends softly causal into the other.
-Frank Herbert, Dune.


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OfflineDroz
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2394613 - 03/02/04 12:36 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

From my first thought on this subject. It may have been an alpha male who first decided to call it a 'thumper' (example word) and the rest of them heard the word and just picked up on the first guys language. Then there could have been another male from another tribe who called it a 'hammer' and eventually they gathered there language and became one. Just a thought.


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Evolution of Time.


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2395029 - 03/02/04 02:37 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

culture started to develop around 40-50 thousand years ago. Physical evolution has been static and mental evolution has made leaps and bounds and stuff.

Some of the first culture was painting and making jewelry. Those were the first types of communications. From that (I think), communication built from sounds and words formed. The meanings formed shortly after that!


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: SpecialEd]
    #2395095 - 03/02/04 02:57 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

communication is not the same thing as language. Lots of animals communicate, even across species, but only one has language.


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2395883 - 03/02/04 05:52 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

communication is not the same thing as language. Lots of animals communicate, even across species, but only one has language.




Hmmmmm. I'd be inclined to differ. Yes, there are differences between language and communication. However, I think language is merely one of many facilitations for communication. Is it unique to humans? How about a dog barking? A cat purring? A rattlesnake shaking its tail? The mating call of a bullfrog? The cracking roar of a wookie?


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: SpecialEd]
    #2396171 - 03/02/04 07:22 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

It's a vocabulary thing man. The definition of language does not include dog barking


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Invisiblekaiowas
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2396620 - 03/02/04 09:25 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

thank you all for those suggestions!!!

"communication is not the same thing as language. Lots of animals communicate, even across species, but only one has language."

yes I agree with you.  simply based on the fact that my friend and I did a little experiment.  We tried not talking to each other for a day.  And we communicated fine!

We actually came up with a lot shoulder movements, hand gestures, and all types of stuff, jsut so we didn't have to use words, and it worked.

"But the "ferrets on two legs" did not talk about the predators when they were not present. The language was only an extension of immediate experience, not an abstraction from it. That may imply that abstraction in time, the perception of the order of time, is one of the reasons to why the humans are unique."

wow, damn...I have to think about that now, but it makes sense.  I was thinking dolphins had their own language, but I don't know if they have ever thought up of a doolphin without a tail. how could one say they do or they don't??

zappaisgod:  would you like to give just a hint of information, or an idea from the book that can relate to my question?  I'll more than likely check it out sometime, but a solid point of view would be most helpful at this time :grin:.

they reason I was asking this is because humans are aware of themselves and even put a name to it. our words connect within our heads. now what comes first, the idea or the word??  I can ask this question because of the fact that I am aware of my thoughts and I am aware of what each words means.

do other animals have this awareness?  Are there other animals that don't have this awareness? 

if evolution, and the big bang, and all that happened, then when did awareness first pop up? or has awareness been around this entire time?


--------------------
Annnnnnd I had a light saber and my friend was there and I said "you look like an indian" and he said "you look like satan" and he found a stick and a rock and he named the rock ooga booga and he named the stick Stick and we both thought that was pretty funny. We got eaten alive by mosquitos but didn't notice til the next day. I stepped on some glass while wading in the swamp and cut my foot open, didn't bother me til the next day either....yeah it was a good time, ended the night by buying some liquor for minors and drinking nips and going to he diner and eating chicken fingers, and then I went home and went to bed.---senior doobie


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2396656 - 03/02/04 09:37 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Maybe you don't understand a dark barking much like you don't understand swahili.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: kaiowas]
    #2399591 - 03/03/04 06:58 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I will do the best I can with what I recall. Your intital question related to when, in our evolutionary history, did it become necessary to name things and thus begin the path to true languages. My first response was that it didn't have to be NECESSARY for there to be evolutionary pressure in its favor, it just had to be advantageous. That is enough.

You, unlike special ed, seem to realize that there is a very real difference, and have touched on some of them, between dogs barking and true language. True language has several unique features, most of which I don't remember and don't want to get wrong. The most important, I think is that language is infinitely creative. Given every sentence ever uttered any individual can produce a grammatically correct sentence that no one has ever utterred before. Take the longest sentence ever said and add, "and then she washed her clam" and it will be grammatically correct. It might be nonsensical, but it will be correct.

As to when this began, it's hard to say. The acquisition of language by our species was accompanied by a change in brain anatomy. There are areas of our brains which are pretty much exclusively devoted to language. They overgrow and can be identified on casts made from the inside of skulls. I'm pretty sure there have been anthropological studies done on this but I can't give you time frames.

My reticence stems from not trusting my memory. It's been 25 yrs since college and more than 10 since I read Pinker. I don't like to assert stuff that I'm not pretty sure is accepted science and the more specific I have to get the greater the chance I might say something wrong. The Pinker book is great and you seem to have a real interest in this. When I became disgusted with Psychology, Psycholinguistics and Physiological Psych kept me in it.


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2400136 - 03/03/04 09:33 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

You, unlike special ed, seem to realize that there is a very real difference, and have touched on some of them, between dogs barking and true language.




I'd say we just differ in terminology. I'm not arguing that this conversation we are having is the same thing as a dog barking.

Quote:

True language has several unique features, most of which I don't remember and don't want to get wrong. The most important, I think is that language is infinitely creative.




Please expound this.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: SpecialEd]
    #2400186 - 03/03/04 09:52 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I'm sorry I just don't remember the features. There's like 6 or 8 of them, I think. One of them is definitely infinite creativity. You can always create a grammatically correct sentence that has never been said before. Pick any sentence and add a simple clause. Voila, a new and unique sentence.

You're right, we are just arguing about terminology. I thought you were implying dog barks were language. My mistake.

By the way, langauge about language is called metalanguage. I always thought that was kind of cool.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: when humans first started thinking for themselves [Re: zappaisgod]
    #2400242 - 03/03/04 10:11 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I did a yahoo search for "features of language" and got the list. It's called Hockett's design features. It's longer than I remembered. I think this is it.
ling.ohio-state.edu/~swinters/371/designfeatures.html
sorry I don't know how to put up the link.


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