How did language originate? | Page 3 | INFJ Forum

How did language originate?

Discussion in 'History, Travel, and Culture' started by The_Mysterious_Stranger, Jan 13, 2020.

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  1. ReasonEnduring

    ReasonEnduring Community Member

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    Depends of the alphabet and phoenetics. Chinese is very different to the Latin Alphabet. Kanji is different to Cyrillic.

    There are some common sounds the voice box can make but constructing those sounds into letters and words varies between communities.

    Here is the Indo European Tree.

    As people moved to new regions new langauges evolved from the local communities.

    [​IMG]
     
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    #41 ReasonEnduring, Mar 19, 2020
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  2. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    Thanks Ginny, some reading in between the work stuff. Putting the book on my ereader.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    @Ginny i'm wondering, is grammatical structure also based on phonetic ease in human language? In the sense that we partially build our grammar in our language based on the ease of pronunciation and emphasis on these phonetics? Eg. the way we
    deliver a message to each-other verbally is always partially emotional, could grammatical structure enhance this delivery?
     
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  4. Ginny

    Ginny Idiot Savante

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    I think we talked about this somewhere else already. @Maikl Jexocuha was that with you?

    As for your example, the psychology of verbal messages is not part of structure, at least not simply so. I guess it could fall into the prosody of a language, although that's also just the standard stress pattern of a language. It might be more at home in the field of pragmatics to define the deviation from the standard logically, but even so it's more descriptive than prescriptive. Grammar was originally more prescriptive until syntax started to describe it.
    Besides that, emotions are very flexible, and not as clearly defined as the relation between an object and a subject within spacetime. I know that some languages use words with certain affixes to define relationships between people. The lexicon is is somewhere between morphology and syntax, but this phenomenon is rather cultural than grammatical. Even so it merely scratches the surface of actual emotions. IMO, it is still pretty far from it.

    Are there native speakers of Russian, Finnish or an Arabic language that can help us add more information on this?
     
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    #44 Ginny, Mar 20, 2020
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  5. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    A bit high level for me here, lol. Could you explain this part for me?

    So am I correct to understand that grammar naturally evolved from (earlier) languages and grammatical syntax put a fixed ruleset on it to describe / standardise it? It's interesting that languages do use affixes to define these relationships, if i'm correct some African languages and Japanese(?) do this for example. And yes, it is indeed cultural.

    So, am I correct to understand that grammatical syntax should be seen as a different objective lingual entity from emotional subjective delivery? Eg. grammar in language describes the objective structure of sentences while cultural approaches within the grammatical set define an emotional or cultural approach within these sentences?

    Just drawing out the general idea in my head here, I'm at a bare minimum of understanding, but it's an interesting topic.
     
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  6. Ginny

    Ginny Idiot Savante

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    Prosody is sort of the "melody" of a language. I haven't focussed much on prosody during my studies, so my definition is a bit wider than it probably is.

    Certain words are expressed in a certain way based on syllable structure and syllabic word structure depending yet again on the morphosyntactical classification of each word within a sentence. For example, in English you could write a word the same way, but through stress you discern which category the word belongs to, either noun, verb or even adjective. Illustrative examples elude me right now. Thusly, [you] could view prosody on a variety of levels within the structure of a sentence, but this structure of a stress pattern will vary not only on levels within a sentence, which will stretch across the language in a repeating fashion to make it predictable in order to signify a specific meaning (e.g. to signify sarcasm). It will also vary across different languages on a grammatical level, but depending on language families they will likely be similar on the most superficial level.

    Grammar can be seen in two different ways, prescriptive and descriptive. The way we learn grammar is prescriptive, as in there is a rigid structure that we must follow in order to communicate efficiently. On the other hand, syntax as the linguisitic subfield, is descriptive. It watches and describes grammar as a living thing rather than telling people how to use it. But it has its limitations. I do think syntax (and grammar in the process) is removed from emotion - the phrase structure of a sentence doesn't change based on what you're feeling. Nor does the word structure (morphology) change either. What can change is your use of it, which is distinguished through semantics and pragmatics. Semantics is concerned with meaning on the base level, the logical meaning of a sentence based on lexical meaning and morphosyntax alone. Pragmatics is taking it a step further into the actual use of language, analysing and describing the changes in semantic meanings based on context.
    Interminglingly, you use of syntax influences the language not just on a pragmatic level. If you consider the phenomenon of the third hand, it can produce a domino effect which changes the syntax permanently. However, due to the prescriptive nature in which we learn and acquire language proficiency, grammar is the most stable structure and less likely to change within a single lifetime.

    You could hypothesise that languages evolved independently from a single specific structure that is based on how the human mind worked at the time (I had been hoping to find out more on this reading Pinker someday). Grammar can only structure what we know about the world around us, so it is invariably linked to the lexicon we develop in naming things. Thereby, we also structure words on a smaller scale by using grammatical units and perhaps even signifying them on the word itself by using a different morpheme or allomorph, in congruence with an affix. The names are moderately independent at first, probably having been the first to develop. That's how the lexicon is defined the most by culture. And words are the first things to change, locally speaking. The structure, however, is combining words on a less individual and less local if not (eventually) global scale. As languages spread, they changed in between villages and cities, but in order to communicate the meaning of (potentially) unknown words, grammar provides a gist about the grammatical relation between one object and another. It doesn't need to convey emotion at that level of evolution.

    However, emotion is an intrinsically biological thing (at least recognisable among mammals). It could tie in with language on a different level, but what level would that be? It's how we use it that eventually conveys any emotional significance to an utterance, but it needs to be removed from both semantics, morphology and syntax, because they are the most basic blocks of meaning we have to make up a sentence or any utterance. They are the foundations we can build upon. To infringe on that distorts both the structure and the meaning, which isn't what we want to do, right? So we must add something to the utterance in order to singularise the colour of the meaning that we wish to bring across.

    Heretofore, in the most known languages on the western hemisphere, it has been done through context and stress. But I am sure that there are different ways it can be brought across, perhaps even on a syntactical level, which would mean that emotions have been defined in such a way that they are universally fixed. But emotions are never that fixed, not even within a single person, to ever trickle down into language structure on a more permanent basis. A grammar would have to be infinitely complex to define every nuance to every emotion that a human is capable of experiencing to let it come to that. And that is not going to happen in a foreseeable future. It has to be conveyed through miniscule changes within a language that doesn't affect the sentence foundation too much to obscure the meaining. So it needs to be done on the levels of context and prosody*, and perhaps even the lexicon where it can't be done differently. These are the only measurable features with which we can discern emotions, and based on the languages structure and lexicon - which differ culturally - the basis of emotional conveyance within a language also differs on a cultural level.

    (*At this point I remembered that tone is also important for the deliverance, but it sort of plays into prosody as well. What needs to be remembered is that there are also languages that make tone a morphological feature that changes the lexical meaning of a word.)

    I hope this wasn't too much. I feel like I went on a very big tangeant that wasn't entirely necessary. But it was good to dive into this realm of thought.

    Edit: fixed some syntax errors :sweatsmile:
     
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    #46 Ginny, Mar 20, 2020
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  7. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    @Ginny woman, the amount of braincells I have to activate here to partake on this discussion....it's almost weekend.................
     
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  8. Ginny

    Ginny Idiot Savante

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    Mine will shut down next week, so I'll take the best I have when I have it. It's been years since I last discussed proper linguistics :blush:
     
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  9. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    I'll take the effort to go through it, I promise...it's...a challenge lol. Complimentary.
     
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  10. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    Hey @Ginny, I'm afraid I am having some difficulties understanding the whole context, too much of linguists that I don't understand well.
    Would you mind if we go through each part?
     
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  11. Ginny

    Ginny Idiot Savante

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    I have no quirms. I don't know if it doesn't derail the thread unnecessarily, though.

    That being said, be my guest, ask away if you like.
     
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  12. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    Thanks Ginny, I don't think it will derail the thread (will keep it to a couple posts maximum).
    Going by it step by step, so I'm aligned with the explanation.

    How does stress in words specifically work in regards to where a word belongs? Is this within a sentence or in the general understanding of words?

    If I understand correctly, to efficiently communicate with a language we need to learn an object set of structural rules, which is the grammar. Syntax extends on this structure by looking at the whole phrase or several phrases (the living thing). Can syntax help with conveying emotions, while not expressing them. As, let's shy, a build up to a certain emotion which is emphased within a word. What is the phenomenon of the third hand if I may ask?
     
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  13. Professor Snep

    Professor Snep Smart. Sexy. Snep.

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    It's a bit hard using telepathy for asking someone to pass the salt
     
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  14. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    [​IMG]

    If it's on my reply, I really have difficulties in understanding the concept.
    But I rather want to start off with the parts that I think I understand than go "please can you rephrase the whole part?".
    It's on my lack of my knowledge and understanding on linguistics. Many werds in there where I go ??? and have to look up.

    @Ginny on that regard, I'll just try to learn the basics first, I guess. Feel free to answer, but I guess it will be better if I'll just research and try to understand everything first. @Professor Snep I am kind of annoyed at your post. But whatever.
     
    #54 dragulagu, Mar 24, 2020
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  15. Ginny

    Ginny Idiot Savante

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    That's alright. A YT channel I watch has some lessons that might interest you.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/NativLang/playlists?view=50&sort=dd&shelf_id=9

    It's probably my fault for being a bad teacher. I often speak as shortly as possible and keep forgetting that other people don't know the lingo.

    If you're ready for me to reply to the questions (as I am sure I will be as annoyingly lingo-using as before), let me know.
     
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  16. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    It has nothing to do with your ability as a teacher Ginny, it's mine. I had to get through the lingo first to understand the meaning of what your are conveying, that's my job.
    I've taken some time in learning this lingo yesterday evening and it became more clear to me.

    Grammar and Syntax to a certain extent is are laid down rigid structures within a language, it is the objective ruleset that works as an agreement on how we present this language.
    Stress (and going to go further on that because it's interesting with tonal languages), Pragmatics and Semantics gives us space to add emotional nuance within our presentation.
    You proposed an evolution how language originates (lexicon > grammar > ...) as a tool within or between communities.
    And you gave an explanation why it is difficult to translate the complexity of emotion within language itself. >> the interesting part to discuss (how to translate emotion clearly or even unambiguously within a message)

    I almost got a full answer ready, rewriting it, will post tonight or tomorrow. This is fun/interesting! The lingo itself was fun to research as well.
     
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  17. dragulagu

    dragulagu Galactic Explorer

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    Hey Ginny, long promised but finally made the summary (I kept it short, more towards questions).

    Question: Hmm, what exactly do you mean with it will stretch across the language in a repeating fashion? Does it mean there is a set of fixed stress patterns in each language? I wonder if there exists a universal pattern to describe the sarcastic tone irrespective of the language it is spoken to.

    Question: I have to ask, what is this phenomenon of the third hand?

    Question: Grammar can only structure what we know about the world around us , do you mean that grammar can only describe that what is around us by structuring the nouns, verbs, ... known to us? It's interesting that grammar could provide universal leverage towards the understanding of unknown words. Sounds logical though.

    Question: If grammatical structure and syntax in extent are laid down by a language's rule set, couldn’t there be a difference between languages that emphasise on emotional delivery? Let’s say southern or more vocal languages will have a stronger emphasis on intonation and overall prosody. You could perhaps see this within a wider cultural context (southern, western, etc.).

    Tonal languages! These on their own are pretty interesting, rather melodic. Still have to check on these.
    https://www.thoughtco.com/four-tones-of-mandarin-2279480

    Took some effort, but I got through it, got a good amount of knowledge searching up as well, so it was fun! And mostly agree with everything stated there :)

    As an extra, I tried a small experiment (I'm not sure whether I'm doing it right) in regards to putting emotion into a sentence:

    An agressive momentum

    The cat got scared when a ball dropped in front of it. - Neutral
    When the ball dropped in front of the cat, it got scared. - Syntax (placing action before emotion)
    When the ball plunged in front of the mouser, it got frightened. - Context (exaggeration of verbs / nouns)
    As the projectile plunged right ahead of the mouser, it got frightened. - Stress (adding stress to aggravate emotion)

    The passing of a loving gesture

    He gave her the flowers and told her he loved her. - Neutral
    When he gave her the flowers, he told her he loved her. - Syntax (emphasis on the dual action, giving and telling affection on the moment)
    When he handed her the blossom, he conveyed to her that he loved her. - Context (to smoothen the situation, add closeness to the situation)
    While handing her the blossom, the gentleman conveyed her his love. - Stress (reduce stress to convey a smooth tonal note, emphases on him performing action)
     
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