Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 09, 2019, 22:30 (16 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If humans arrived 300,000+ years ago with the anatomic changes for speech now in place well before language developed (per current experts) your statement is entirely false. Did earlier homos and early sapiens speak? Of course they did, but the development of complex language syntax, forming 30 specific different sounds (phonemes) all required the anatomic changes and the larger brain to allow the appearance.

dhw: The development of syntax has nothing to do with anatomy and phonemes, and there is no expert on earth who can verify that all the anatomic changes took place before early homos and early sapiens began the process of trying to form new sounds.

I've said earlier homos used voice. Complex language requires the appearance of complex anatomic changes to perform enough phonemes to form a complex intelligible language. As for experts read McCrone. The need for the previously enlarged brain is necessary for the language control areas to develop syntax among the aspects of organized language.


dhw: And I would suggest that the new way of living REQUIRED better means of communication, and that the cell communities responded to that need as our ancestors invented new sounds […]

DAVID: I view your response a denial of the fossil history as we know it. Reading 'The Ape that Spoke', John Mc Crone, 1991, will explain the points I am making.
From Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 22:44:
"'The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested.....Riny Huybregts ... concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change."

dhw; How early is irrelevant to your theory. The question is whether the anatomy changed before the different sounds were available, or the anatomy changed because a wider variety became necessary, and the need for change engendered the process of change (as with pre-whale legs turning into flippers). What does “externalization” mean? All forms of language are externalizations – otherwise there would be no communication!

What Huybregts implies to me is anatomy first , sounds next. Exactly what McCrone writes.


DAVID: Riny Huybregts is saying what I have said from McCrone. Anatomy first
Furthermore our sapiens anatomy allow for this language discrimination:
"Phoneme Segmentation
What are phoneme segmentation skills?
Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break words down into individual sounds.
For example, the learner breaks the word run into its component sounds – r, u, and n."

dhw: Obviously! What does that have to do with my proposal that the attempt to create different sounds would have resulted in anatomical change, as opposed to anatomical change preceding the ability to make sounds. However, this is all too rigid. I am not saying that every attempted sound meant/means anatomical change. This is self-evident from the fact that every language stems from the now established anatomy: many sounds made in English are very different from those made in other languages, and vice versa. The question (as with whale flippers) is what CAUSED the anatomical changes in the first place. I propose cell communities responding to the effort to create new sounds, you propose your God’s 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for epiglottis change – along with every other evolutionary innovation – or your God personally performing operations on a group of individual epiglottises. I find that pretty far-fetched.

You have not answered the point that H. sapiens arrived with all the required anatomical changes in place needed to produce human sounds for modern complex language which appears to have started 50,000+ years ago, 250.000 years after the first sapiens arrived. That is Mc Crone's view. Just when did your cell committees do their job?


Complete thread:

 RSS Feed of thread

powered by my little forum