Re: Origin of Language

Jacques Guy (
1 Aug 1995 09:17:33 +1000 () writes:

>It seems to be accepted by many anthropologists that the migration of
>anatomically modern man across at least 60 kilometers of open sea to the
>combined continent of Australia-New Guinea about 50,000 years ago could
>not have taken place without the existence of language. The construction
>of sea-going vessels and the level of planning and abstraction, and group
>cooperation, required are considered impossible without language. I find
>this argument highly speculative, but cannot refute it. What do you

That it is not only highly speculative an argument, but even downright
strange. By the same token, I will argue that the social insects must
have language: the construction of anthills, the farming of mushroom,
the husbandry of aphids, group cooperation, are *surely* impossible
without language! (Must I really insert a smiley here?)

Beyond insects, do we not observe cooperative hunting behaviour in...
wolves for instance?

So the argument is not only speculative. I see it as fundamentally
worthless. (But I'm only a linguist...)