Who invented words and their meanings? And why?

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mediageek123
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Just something I tend to think about alot.

We always use so many words and it makes me wonder who came up with them in the first place and why?

Animals don't appear to speak a language or 'words' they just make noises and seem to understand each other

Is it just that humans continued to develop intelligent and more advanced brains or was it just coincidence? Surely several people would have to decide on the meaning of a word for everyone to use it correctly.

Thoughts?
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TorpidPhil
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Well the meaning of words isn't a set thing - nobody really injects meaning into them and that's why we have different slang in different regions of a country even when the people are speaking the same language.

Of course over-time we realised it would be helpful if we all try and speak the same way and standardise our language and so these dictionary companies set-up and so on. I wonder how they standardised it pre-writing...

The study of the very origins of language is actually really complex so I won't comment on that itself...
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Dr Pesto
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It doesn't work like that. Languages aren't constructed by committees of people, they develop naturally over time.
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cake face 96
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(Original post by Dr Pesto)
It doesn't work like that. Languages aren't constructed by committees of people, they develop naturally over time.
There do exist artificial languages, and forced conventions (grammar, spelling) that are used to contain these natural variations; I think it was a way of political unification originally, you'll notice the dialect varies to such an extent between location it makes more sense for a state to have a standard spelling system; but this is not a natural consequence.

There are many different theories of language to explain the origins and meanings of words; the referent theory holds that a word refers to some corresponding thing; it struggles because we usually use words in such a liberal manner a definitive definition is quite difficult; think of a game for example, there are so many possible games that you have to modify the meaning depending on the activity; this is another theory of language, that meaning depends on the usage of words in context.
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Dr Pesto
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(Original post by cake face 96)
There do exist artificial languages, and forced conventions (grammar, spelling) that are used to contain these natural variations; I think it was a way of political unification originally, you'll notice the dialect varies to such an extent between location it makes more sense for a state to have a standard spelling system; but this is not a natural consequence.

There are many different theories of language to explain the origins and meanings of words; the referent theory holds that a word refers to some corresponding thing; it struggles because we usually use words in such a liberal manner a definitive definition is quite difficult; think of a game for example, there are so many possible games that you have to modify the meaning depending on the activity; this is another theory of language, that meaning depends on the usage of words in context.
That's very true. Its interesting looking at written works of the past, like from Shakespeare's time, when there weren't really 'official' ways to spell words and it was kind of a free for all. But it is worth noting that most languages are not artificially constructed. OP should look up Esperanto for the most famous example of a constructed language.
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German123
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Found this online:

Funny Joke°°° Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn.........?




Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time
to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
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TorpidPhil
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(Original post by German123)
Found this online:

Funny Joke°°° Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn.........?




Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time
to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
English does have an absurd number of homophones
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German123
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(Original post by TorpidPhil)
English does have an absurd number of homophones
I just found what I posted online.
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cake face 96
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(Original post by German123)
Found this online:

Funny Joke°°° Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn.........?




Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time
to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
Reinforcing my view that English is ****ed up. How we have so many scientists when they require precision I don't know.

Good question actually. Is there a correlation between language and progress in science? Since there has been some questions raised about the relation between language and thought.
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DeceitfulDove
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This is my faaaaavourite area that I've covered so far in my degree, I love the theories of the origins of language! Shall leturn to edit in a proper response when I have a min :bigsmile:
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German123
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(Original post by cake face 96)
Reinforcing my view that English is ****ed up. How we have so many scientists when they require precision I don't know.

Good question actually. Is there a correlation between language and progress in science? Since there has been some questions raised about the relation between language and thought.
Maybe? I would like to know too.
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Martyn*
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Our language first developed from primary involuntary and mimetic sounds. This is why the Egyptians and Africans preserved some of the early trace of the development of our consonantal and vowel system of language.
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Kallisto
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(Original post by mediageek123)
x
I would say that the first words - and 'letters' - came up when the first people begin to civilize their life or even right before. The population of Uruk for instance - one of the first civilizations in people's history - already used writings in cuneiform and they have had their own language. I think the coming up of language was a necessity in the following years to manage their advanced life in the one hand and to have an advantage in evolution in the other hand.

In terms of the animals its true that they are not able to make noises due to the anatomy of these animals. But some animals - the apes - are able indeed to learn words and to match them the right objects.
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TorpidPhil
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(Original post by DeceitfulDove)
This is my faaaaavourite area that I've covered so far in my degree, I love the theories of the origins of language! Shall leturn to edit in a proper response when I have a min :bigsmile:
You never returned :cry2:
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Juichiro
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(Original post by mediageek123)
Just something I tend to think about alot.

We always use so many words and it makes me wonder who came up with them in the first place and why?

Animals don't appear to speak a language or 'words' they just make noises and seem to understand each other

Is it just that humans continued to develop intelligent and more advanced brains or was it just coincidence? Surely several people would have to decide on the meaning of a word for everyone to use it correctly.

Thoughts?
The semantics and grammar of natural languages is based on conventions (i.e. a bunch of people agree that particular sounds will be pronounced in certain way and will meaning one of a possible set of ideas).
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mediageek123
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Nearly forgot about this thread! Oops!

Interesting views. I agree with all of you haha.
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mediageek123
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(Original post by German123)
Found this online:

Funny Joke°°° Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn.........?




Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time
to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
Thats awesome! XD
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German123
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(Original post by mediageek123)
Thats awesome! XD
LOL
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pocahontas lol
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Sounds and human beings natural inclination and need for social communication.

Symbols as well.

This just comes from basic World History 101, did you go to that, OP? :confused:
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hamix.forllz
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I guess..just as cattle know what moos are or cats meows, i guess its the same basic process. In us, its just more advanced...
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