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Who invented words and their meanings? And why? Watch

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    I don't know where to start so I'll just do a bit of a flow of consciousness ramble.

    The two language areas of the brain that are well known are Broca's area at the side and towards front of left hemisphere and Wernicke's area further back. We know that people with damage to Broca's can understand language but struggle to produce (fMRI scans show decresed activity in people who stutter, v. Interesting) and those with damage to Wernicke's speak often full and complex sentences but using wrong vocab. Anyway, this is relevant cos Broca's area leaves a raised lump on our brain which imprints our skull...so this could be a physical piece of fossil evidence of the development of human language. In comes creepy old skull; ER 1470 discovered in Kenya and has been dated at 1.9m years old was examined and was found to have an imprint of Brocas area. The conclusion was that the owner of creepy skull was able to communicate 'with more than the pant-hoot-grunt repertoire of modern chimpanzees'. Obviously people like Pinker have come along and said 'the role of Broca's area in language is maddeningly unclear' blabla but I'm totally sold :teehee: also in keeping with this is the idea that larger brain = language capabilities, and the most perceptable growth happened 2m years ago with the appearance of Homo Habilis.

    Okie dokei, now something on words. So language is a system of symbolic signs yah. There's no inherent reason a cat is called a cat. it's totally arbitrary, and there are hundreds of versions across the world for this one creature. Rather than examining it from a speech kind of view, we need to look from a sign kind of perspective....3 types of signs; iconic (portrait), indexical (smoke means fire), and symbolic signs which are conventionalised. I.e wedding ring = marriage. The point is that animals can handle the first two, but humans branched off into being able to develop symbolic signs when they began tool assisted meat eating.

    Argh and now I have to go out... I will return later, this took me a long time on my phone
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    I did.

    Because I was lonely and had little to do for a few dozen thousand years.
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    (Original post by Friar Chris)
    I did.

    Because I was lonely and had little to do for a few dozen thousand years.
    That's totally what I was getting at :smug:

    Also, I start studying aphasia monday, pls give me ur clevers.
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    (Original post by deceitfuldove)
    that's totally what i was getting at :smug:

    also, i start studying aphasia monday, pls give me ur clevers.
    MY CLEVERS NOT YOURS.

    Hands off.
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    (Original post by TorpidPhil)
    English does have an absurd number of homophones
    Cool.
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    (Original post by DeceitfulDove)
    I don't know where to start so I'll just do a bit of a flow of consciousness ramble.

    The two language areas of the brain that are well known are Broca's area at the side and towards front of left hemisphere and Wernicke's area further back. We know that people with damage to Broca's can understand language but struggle to produce (fMRI scans show decresed activity in people who stutter, v. Interesting) and those with damage to Wernicke's speak often full and complex sentences but using wrong vocab. Anyway, this is relevant cos Broca's area leaves a raised lump on our brain which imprints our skull...so this could be a physical piece of fossil evidence of the development of human language. In comes creepy old skull; ER 1470 discovered in Kenya and has been dated at 1.9m years old was examined and was found to have an imprint of Brocas area. The conclusion was that the owner of creepy skull was able to communicate 'with more than the pant-hoot-grunt repertoire of modern chimpanzees'. Obviously people like Pinker have come along and said 'the role of Broca's area in language is maddeningly unclear' blabla but I'm totally sold :teehee: also in keeping with this is the idea that larger brain = language capabilities, and the most perceptable growth happened 2m years ago with the appearance of Homo Habilis.

    Okie dokei, now something on words. So language is a system of symbolic signs yah. There's no inherent reason a cat is called a cat. it's totally arbitrary, and there are hundreds of versions across the world for this one creature. Rather than examining it from a speech kind of view, we need to look from a sign kind of perspective....3 types of signs; iconic (portrait), indexical (smoke means fire), and symbolic signs which are conventionalised. I.e wedding ring = marriage. The point is that animals can handle the first two, but humans branched off into being able to develop symbolic signs when they began tool assisted meat eating.

    Argh and now I have to go out... I will return later, this took me a long time on my phone
    Whilst most words we use are arbitrary, there are some in English that are more onomatopoeic, especially animal sounds. (Moo, woof,bah, squeak etc) Does anyone with a knowledge of non European languages know if this trait is prevalent in other languages??
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    (Original post by DJKL)
    Whilst most words we use are arbitrary, there are some in English that are more onomatopoeic, especially animal sounds. (Moo, woof,bah, squeak etc) Does anyone with a knowledge of non European languages know if this trait is prevalent in other languages??
    Yep I haven't got on to that bit yet aha imma have to finish my train of though tomorrow, that comes in on the imitation theory of origin which means I have to talk about the other theories too. Yeah I've touched on global onomat in my degree, because of the nature of it they're often similar especially length and consonant sound but often with different vowels.
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    Language will disappear as textspeak increases innit.
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    (Original post by dozyrosie)
    Language will disappear as textspeak increases innit.
    Txtspk is language..
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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?

    Of course it was not coincidence that humans developed advanced brains it was natural selection. Language evolved organically in the same way as animals evolve. Nobody knows exactly when and where the first word was spoken but it was a slow process. Gestures and noises probably preceded words, and then came specific vocalisations.

    Try to formulate a language with someone and you'll see its quite easy, you don't need to have committee meetings to decide what words mean, you just work it out between yourselves and then it flows from there.
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    (Original post by DeceitfulDove)
    Yep I haven't got on to that bit yet aha imma have to finish my train of though tomorrow, that comes in on the imitation theory of origin which means I have to talk about the other theories too. Yeah I've touched on global onomat in my degree, because of the nature of it they're often similar especially length and consonant sound but often with different vowels.
    Thanks, you will end up writing a mini dissertation on here.

    Another question as you have piqued my interest, are harmonious sounding words more used for uplifting/ happy words like "joyful" whereas the double consonant "grim" has a more sombre timbre. If so is this due to vowel placement?
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    (Original post by DeceitfulDove)
    Txtspk is language..
    It definitely is, the trouble is are we moving toward regression, will we become less artistic in our use of language, or descend to grunts and groans?
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    (Original post by DJKL)
    Thanks, you will end up writing a mini dissertation on here.

    Another question as you have piqued my interest, are harmonious sounding words more used for uplifting/ happy words like "joyful" whereas the double consonant "grim" has a more sombre timbre. If so is this due to vowel placement?
    I'm legit having mindgasm right now. Very interesting. Joyful having two syllables means it can take advantage of our intonation so it...just sounds nicer, less...flat. It has rhythm unlike grim. 'ful' being a suffix is the weaker part of the word so we stress the joy which carries the meaning and has a diphthong which is much more pleasing than a short vowel like 'i', but then again...we've already attached meanings to these words. We cant detach our link. We can't see the word 'joyful' and ignore its meaning. 'G' is a harsh sound too isn't it. Compare 'grim' with 'prim'. Hmmm.
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    (Original post by dozyrosie)
    It definitely is, the trouble is are we moving toward regression, will we become less artistic in our use of language, or descend to grunts and groans?
    Naaah we're just adapting to technology and life and conventions appear I often compare txt spk to note taking. They're both what they are because of the situations that create them. Text speak was due to space/cost constraints and note taking due to time. as long as what you write/ say carries the meaning you want...does it matter how you say it? (Obviously not in interviews/academic essays and the like)
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    (Original post by DeceitfulDove)
    I'm legit having mindgasm right now. Very interesting. Joyful having two syllables means it can take advantage of our intonation so it...just sounds nicer, less...flat. It has rhythm unlike grim. 'ful' being a suffix is the weaker part of the word so we stress the joy which carries the meaning and has a diphthong which is much more pleasing than a short vowel like 'i', but then again...we've already attached meanings to these words. We cant detach our link. We can't see the word 'joyful' and ignore its meaning. 'G' is a harsh sound too isn't it. Compare 'grim' with 'prim'. Hmmm.
    Appreciate what you say re inherent bias by prior knowledge.

    What you will then have to do is a blind test. Get a population of subjects to listen to words from a language they do not know, so the word meaning has no resonance, then ask them to grade the words from cheerful to sombre, using a scale, on a sound basis only. Then compare their answers with actual meaning to see if there is a correlation.

    No doubt been done, but if not an interesting project.
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    (Original post by DJKL)
    Appreciate what you say re inherent bias by prior knowledge.

    What you will then have to do is a blind test. Get a population of subjects to listen to words from a language they do not know, so the word meaning has no resonance, then ask them to grade the words from cheerful to sombre, using a scale, on a sound basis only. Then compare their answers with actual meaning to see if there is a correlation.

    No doubt been done, but if not an interesting project.
    This would be so much fun :puppyeyes:
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    I've always been quite interested in this as well? :holmes: I mean if they do develop over time then could I make up a new word & give it my own meaning myself? Could it spread worldwide?
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    (Original post by DeceitfulDove)
    Naaah we're just adapting to technology and life and conventions appear I often compare txt spk to note taking. They're both what they are because of the situations that create them. Text speak was due to space/cost constraints and note taking due to time. as long as what you write/ say carries the meaning you want...does it matter how you say it? (Obviously not in interviews/academic essays and the like)
    Yes, but surely we want literature to be more than mere imparting of information, we want a richness of language, of description. The danger of abbreviation is that it can reduce the depth of the writing.

    Modern communication can make a good book, there is one called E which is a serious of e mails which I quite enjoyed,, however I would not like everything I read for pleasure to be truncated.
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    (Original post by Multitalented me)
    I've always been quite interested in this as well? :holmes: I mean if they do develop over time then could I make up a new word & give it my own meaning myself? Could it spread worldwide?
    Eeek I've forgotten the name of the book! But someone did this and wrote a book about it. There was also a book called Frindle in the 90s that was fictional but about children assigning things new names and them catching on.
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    (Original post by DJKL)
    Whilst most words we use are arbitrary, there are some in English that are more onomatopoeic, especially animal sounds. (Moo, woof,bah, squeak etc) Does anyone with a knowledge of non European languages know if this trait is prevalent in other languages??
    Hallo, I'm studying Japanese (and I don't study linguistics so someone correct me if I'm wrong).

    But I think that we only think of those sounds like that because that's how we learned them. If you think about it the sound a dog makes isn't actually (or very rarely) the same as woof. It's just thats how we learned it when small.

    In Japanese the onomatopoeia for 'Woof' is 'ワンワン' which is pronounced 'Wan Wan'. I asked my teachers and they say that is how they hear a bark, the same way we hear it as 'Woof' - If that makes sense??

    I think it's just about ingrained knowledge that we learn as children.
 
 
 
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