The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

What did you say? And what did you mean by it?

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MarkAman
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The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by MarkAman » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:37 pm

What is present can be referred to by the simple act of pointing. Earliest man used this means first and exclusively to refer to what was present, since, like any animal, he was not yet aware of the possibility and power of absence. And of course we still use this means of referring to present things as when I 'point out' which building on this street is the library. However, ONLY when an object is ABSENT, is there a need to 'call' it back into presence. Pointing to a present object with the index finger is the precursor to language. But language itself is born when the game, the berries, the food to be found in the bush, the life-sustaining water in the stream, for some reason, this year, does not appear as usual. It's the ABSENCE of the thing that requires a name for it and this naming is first a 'calling' of it back from its terrifying absence.

Image

The first words were born in this state of longing, fairly desperate, for absent, 'missing' things. The first words were 'calls' to these things that were suddenly not there. The missing thing needs a name to call it by. The calling of a thing back from absence gave the impetus for replacing it with a word or an artistic representation, formed in mud or drawn on the wall of a dwelling. In the same way, the first naming of human beings was born of the need to call an absent dear-one back to the fold. As long as the circle is complete and all heads are counted, there is no need for names. Only when one is missing, must he or she be given a name and called, probably desperately, back from the danger and into the circle.

Slowly, over hundreds of thousands of years, words and ideas began to replace all kinds of things, whether they were present or not, so that they could be 'conceived' at will and man would no longer be at their mercy, subject to their loss. As the names of things proliferated, language was required to comprehend the nuances, actions and interactions of things as well as their relatively static, nominal state of being. Thus developed the need for verbs, adjectival and adverbial expressions and well as nominal ones. Over a vast period of time, more and more things with their events, patterns and structures - 'ideas', were 'held in mind' by man and so his brain naturally grew to outsize proportions. At the same time, the power of mute pointing receded and is present to us today as a mere vestige, useful in only the most trivial circumstances of signifying as in the case of my mutely pointing out the library on the street.

Thus, on loss, absence and a more or less desperate calling, is the modern world of human language strangely founded. And the calling and recalling of longed-for absent things (and others) is exactly what we do all day. 'Primitive' man would be no stranger to us.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Eodnhoj7 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:14 pm

MarkAman wrote:
Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:37 pm
What is present can be referred to by the simple act of pointing. Earliest man used this means first and exclusively to refer to what was present, since, like any animal, he was not yet aware of the possibility and power of absence. And of course we still use this means of referring to present things as when I 'point out' which building on this street is the library. However, ONLY when an object is ABSENT, is there a need to 'call' it back into presence. Pointing to a present object with the index finger is the precursor to language. But language itself is born when the game, the berries, the food to be found in the bush, the life-sustaining water in the stream, for some reason, this year, does not appear as usual. It's the ABSENCE of the thing that requires a name for it and this naming is first a 'calling' of it back from its terrifying absence.
Great observation. The nature of language breaks down to the nature of the "point" (beginning and end of finger) and "line" (finger). It is in this nature of the point and line from which further points and line manifest to the structures we observe as reality today.

The nature of "pointing" with the finger being the "percieved" beginning of language (whether or not that is the actual case we will use it as the premise axiom) maintains its ground in the nature of "physicality" or the observation of a world that is in a continual state of flux. This act of communication is in a constant state of flux as if one cannot point to something they cannot communicate an idea. Take for example a hunter wants to talk about buffalo. In order to communicate in this strict physical means the buffalo must be in his approximate area. The caveman must relate to the buffalo and in these respects that nature of communication had a high grade of "relativity" associated as "physicality" or "flux".

The problem occurs where in observing the nature of communication as strictly Relativistic or in a state of continual flux (for in order to communicate about a buffalo the cavemen observed that the buffalo must be "nearby") one observes a constant (the memory of the buffalo appears as an abstraction which exists as a reflection, yet is a construct in itself) for to observe everything as "relative/flux/physical" one observes a constant. This "constant" manifests as a nature of "reflection" or "abstraction".

It is in observing this nature of relativity/flux one moves to reflection/constant (this can be seen in aspects of Aristotelian philosophy where we learn about "above" by observe "below"). The nature of language, specifically that aspect of naming, is the move towards abstraction as the observation and manifestation of unifying dimensions. Where the cavemen had to observe the buffalo in the physical sense, the observation of a "name" or "word" as an "abstract unifying reflective space" enabled the caveman to move towards a greater degree of "unity" not only in the nature of observation as knowledge but in a practical means of communication as well. Where the nature of communication was literally a physical form of
"geometry" (caveman pointing to buffalo) the nature of "words/names" allows for the abstraction of this geometry with a greater degree of consistency through unity as "reflectivity".

It is from this nature of Relativity and Reflectivity, within the nature of language that a third element results: the axiom as Synthesis. It is in this nature of simultaneously pointing to the buffalo in both a physical manner and abstract manner that the cavemen where able to develop "axioms" or "points" of communication through the nature of the "word/name" (now whether or not it "really" happened this way is up for debate. I do not believe it happened this way, however for the sake of argument we will continue with this line of reasoning). This nature of the axiom, through the physical/abstract nature of language, enabled the caveman to Synthesize structure through the manifestation of "dimensional limits" as axioms and from this dimensional limits, "possible natures" (or further dimensional limits) as further axioms.

It is within this nature of axioms as the Synthesis of points that the caveman was able to not only produce further points but simultaneously maintain and regress other points. It is through the nature of Axiom Synthesis that the cavemen was not only to reflect an abstract structure and relate to physical particulation, but simultaneously manifest a median between the two.

It is in these respects the caveman had to "triangulate" reality through the points of Reflection, Relativity, and Synthesis in order to mediate it. This nature of the axiom as a "point" is a universal construct we observe with the ancient world by not only the emphasis of geometry and astronomy, but also their nature of measurements being premised on a median with the nature world (systems of measurement being based on the stars, seasons/cycles, etc.).

It all breaks down to geometry. Once the caveman were able to fully observe this, the nature of their communication expanded like a seed growing in to a plant with the plant producing further seeds that grew into further plants.

Language is either exponentially unifying or diverging...like roses and weeds.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:24 pm

Would you differentiate the first words of a baby from the adults in HS? Any significant differences with other species such as Neanderthals? And how about comparing with other mammals.

More broadly, what was the biggest factor in how language arose? Admittedly I've never given this area a deep study. Would you say that language sets off HAS from other species?

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Harbal » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:03 pm

I think language probably came about by accident, in a physical sense. I imagine the first word uttered by primitive man was when he accidentally dropped something heavy on his foot (probably a rock). In my experience, the sudden occurrence of acute pain stimulates the area of the brain that originates language. Obviously, there is no way of knowing what that first word was but, once spoken, it would have been readily adopted by other members of the group and adapted for use in various situations involving an element of misfortune.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:35 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:03 pm
I think language probably came about by accident, in a physical sense. I imagine the first word uttered by primitive man was when he accidentally dropped something heavy on his foot (probably a rock). In my experience, the sudden occurrence of acute pain stimulates the area of the brain that originates language. Obviously, there is no way of knowing what that first word was but, once spoken, it would have been readily adopted by other members of the group and adapted for use in various situations involving an element of misfortune.
It's not at the top of my list for generating a language. One-time occurrences are just that, one-time. How would it be recorded? How would it be communicated? I think a more likely occurrence are babies that scream and cry and express other emotions that could lead to language.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Harbal » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:46 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:35 pm

It's not at the top of my list for generating a language.
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Just try dropping a heavy object onto your bare foot, I think you'll find it very difficult not to say anything.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:49 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:46 pm
Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:35 pm

It's not at the top of my list for generating a language.
PhilX 🇺🇸
Just try dropping a heavy object onto your bare foot, I think you'll find it very difficult not to say anything.
I don't consider that language as it wouldn't be repeated nor recorded (writing would need to be invented).

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Harbal » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:00 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:49 pm

I don't consider that language as it wouldn't be repeated nor recorded (writing would need to be invented).

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I think language preceded writing by a considerable amount of time.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by MarkAman » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:32 pm

Eodnhoj7 wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:14 pm
The nature of language breaks down to the nature of the "point" (beginning and end of finger) and "line" (finger). It is in this nature of the point and line from which further points and line manifest to the structures we observe as reality today.
You get it. Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. Pointing and the 'line' that it makes from the arm and finger to the thing, is the first horizontal 'axis' upon which the pre-named being of things was turned. It is nothing less than the crude beginning of the world in which we have come to live because it is the first bestowal of 'being' to things. It is a 'cutting' of a thing from immediate experience that says, 'THIS, not That... THIS and this only!' From this, the 'axiom' of the thing, THAT IT EXISTS, is primitively, wordlessly understood. Imagine the long-forgotten joy of that first understanding of things... that they, in themselves, EXIST!!
The importance of the 'point' and the 'line' is also found in the first tool, the 'hand-axe', that was nothing more than a 'point' in stone that evolved into a 'line' in stone (an 'edge'). Thus began the cutting of things (physically and virtually) from which civilization itself has been built. And yet these are not the original 'axes' of being, but only reflect the more primordial 'pointing' that is the foundation and essence of human being. Thanks again for your comment.
I'm writing a small book on this theme called 'The Idea of Man'. It's free, here: http://www.ideaofman.org

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Harbal » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:47 pm

MarkAman wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:32 pm

You get it. Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. Pointing and the 'line' that it makes from the arm and finger to the thing, is the first horizontal 'axis' upon which the pre-named being of things was turned. It is nothing less than the crude beginning of the world in which we have come to live because it is the first bestowal of 'being' to things. It is a 'cutting' of a thing from immediate experience that says, 'THIS, not That... THIS and this only!' From this, the 'axiom' of the thing, THAT IT EXISTS, is primitively, wordlessly understood. Imagine the long-forgotten joy of that first understanding of things... that they, in themselves, EXIST!!
The importance of the 'point' and the 'line' is also found in the first tool, the 'hand-axe', that was nothing more than a 'point' in stone that evolved into a 'line' in stone (an 'edge'). Thus began the cutting of things (physically and virtually) from which civilization itself has been built. And yet these are not the original 'axes' of being, but only reflect the more primordial 'pointing' that is the foundation and essence of human being. Thanks again for your comment.
I wonder what the first object that man pointed to and named was. Possibly his foot, if my theory is correct.
I'm writing a small book on this theme called 'The Idea of Man'. It's free, here:
Even so, I think you may be charging a bit too much.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by MarkAman » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:50 pm

Perhaps better to stick to your tattered copies of Mad Magazine and the ideas found there. I also used to love it, when I was 7 years old. "Each to their own level of thinking."... A.E. Newman. But seriously, it certainly has its place and puts a lot in its proper perspective.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:59 pm

What about as a warning of danger, when pointing isn't going to be any use?

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Harbal » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:00 pm

MarkAman wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:50 pm
Perhaps better to stick to your tattered copies of Mad Magazine and the ideas found there.
Actually, quite often the people who are being serious are the funniest.
I also used to love it, when I was 7 years old.
My word, you started early.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by MarkAman » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:33 pm

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:59 pm
What about as a warning of danger, when pointing isn't going to be any use?
Fundamental difference, eh, between the whole range of 'verbalizations' that arise from animal, visceral states of 'excitement'... fear, sadness, pain, pleasure... and human language. Language is in a different category from animal responses or the 'signalling' that animals do. Language needs distance from the object to happen and the greater the distance (i.e., to the point of absence), the more likely that the thing will be 'held in mind' in the form of a word, a name or an idea. But of course it's hard to visualize this or 'dramatise' it because these 'first words' are being formed over a period of hundreds of thousands of years... an unimaginable span of time. But you don't need to know the details of 'what happened' to see the logic of it, how it 'must have been' based on how it IS, right now as we speak, write, think... absent 'things' called ideas. ABSENCE is the key to language and signalling the presence of danger is reactive to an overwhelming PRESENCE.

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Re: The First Words... The Origin of Human Language

Post by Harbal » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:09 pm

MarkAman wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:33 pm
Language needs distance from the object to happen and the greater the distance (i.e., to the point of absence), the more likely that the thing will be 'held in mind'
It would more likely be completely forgotten about.
But of course it's hard to visualize this or 'dramatise' it because these 'first words' are being formed over a period of hundreds of thousands of years...
I think the first word was probably something like "ouch" - for reasons I have outlined above- and rather than hundreds of thousands of years, I suspect it came about quite spontaneously. I concede that it may have taken some time before it came to be appended with "my fucking foot" but I don't see why it would have taken that long.
ABSENCE is the key to language
But ABSENCE of logic is probably not the key to coming up with a credible theory.

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