Re: Crossing the language threshold was Re: First Language

Richard M. Alderson III (
Wed, 30 Aug 1995 19:07:02 GMT

In article <>
(Ralph T. Edwards) writes:

>In article <>, wrote:

>> Since nouns, verbs, and adjectives are not necessarily distinct in all
>> languages, such an acquisition pattern is unlikely.

>The fact that "run" can be used as a noun or a verb does not necessarily imply
>that the word is stored only one place, or that there are not distinct brain
>adaptations to support the different classes of words. Or did you have
>something else in mind?

Something else.

There are languages in which the predicates we call "adjectives" in English are
inflected like verbs, rather than like nouns as in Indo-European languages.

There are languages in which states or events of nature are expressed as verbs
rather than as nouns.

So I don't have in mind homonymies, but actual differences in category

>>>Of course even if language acquisition is the speciation event for modern
>>>humans, it may have occurred in more than one place, and then merged.

>>Why "merged"?

>Because if the groups did not merge, then there would have been only one
>origin of language (that survivied), and I was considering the possibility
>that there were multiple origins.

That's way I asked.

Why do you assume that multiple origins have not survived?

Rich Alderson You know the sort of thing that you can find in any dictionary
of a strange language, and which so excites the amateur philo-
logists, itching to derive one tongue from another that they
know better: a word that is nearly the same in form and meaning
as the corresponding word in English, or Latin, or Hebrew, or
what not.
--J. R. R. Tolkien, _The Notion Club Papers_