Language Origins (With Bibliography!) Essay, Research Paper
Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato, and the Stoics believed that language had come into being out of “inherent necessity” or “nature,” that man literally could not help developing and using language because it was a part of his very being. The idea was generally discounted, but picked up from time to time. Many primitive people have traditional and mystical views of origins of language as a gift from the gods. Even as late as the 17th century, a Swedish philologist seriously maintained that in the Garden of Eden God spoke Swedish, Adam Danish, and the serpent French. Language is primarily a system of symbolizing objects, actions, states of being, and relationships among things, conveying meaning and thoughts from one person to another through the use of “accepted conventions” and some sense of mutual agreement among all parties involved. What are some of these conventions?Words and word meanings. (Problems? Different definitions. Sound/written convention problems (anecdote/antidote). Not having the right word available for a concept (sniglets). Vagueness (dog, chair, him, etc.))Means of conveying relationships: Use of prepositions, word order (syntax) Some of the most recent theories of language are: Bow-wow — imitation of sounds occurring in nature. Ding-Dong — mystic correlation between sound and meaning.Pooh-Pooh — ejaculations of pleasure, surprise, pain, fear, ect.Yo-He-Ho — the grunts of physical exertion.Sing-Song — primitive inarticulate chants.Ta-Ta — vocal organs unconsciously attempted to mimic gestures made by the hands. Ultimately, however, we just don’t really know much about the origins of language. The origins are obviously oral and there are just as obviously no records. People have long been curious about the variety of different languages in existence at various times. They are all distinctly different, yet there are some puzzling connections — similar vocabularies, grammatical structures. Some of the word stock in these languages were the result of borrowing (as in English we borrowed words like kayak, igloo — Eskimo; raccoon, teepee — American Indian; glasnost, perestroyka — Russian), but other features seemed fundamental and similar in many languages. Language was used as a way to characterize and make fun of other peoples (Greeks — folk etymology “barbarians” — other languages sounded like they were saying “bar-bar-bar-bar” all the time.)
Leibniz, in the early 1700’s was the first to advance the notion that all languages come not from a historically recorded source, but from some sort of early proto-speech. Asserting that all languages have a common origin. In some senses, we can see this assumption operating in the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. Some curious means were attempted to determine what this “original” speech was. On 3 recorded occasions, attempts were made to isolate children before they began talking to see whether they would evolve a language of their own. One by the Egyptian king Psammetichos, the second by Frederick II of Sicily about 1200, and the third by King James IV of Scotland around 1500. In last case, a pair of twins were kept in a remote tower of the castle and not allowed to converse or hear speech from anyone else. The assumption was that having no other source of information, they would begin to talk with one another in “the language of the angels” — which some believed would be Hebrew. They talked with gestures, noises, and grunts — so they did develop their own rudimentary language — but it did not sound anything like the language “researchers” imagined angels would use. References:Landsberg, Marge E. (1988). The Genesis of Language. Germany: Printing Ratzlow-Druck. Wind, Jan (1989). Language Origins. New York: Academic Press. Edmondson, William H. (1996). International Review of Sign Linguistics. Mahwah, NJ: LEA Publishers Various Internet Sights
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Collins is proud to announce a major new edition of its flagship dictionary. Updated with the latest terms to enter the language, Collins English Dictionary is not only comprehensive and authoritative, but also offers outstanding coverage of world, regional and dialect English. Collins English Dictionary is a rich source of words for everyone who loves language. This new edition includes the latest words to enter the English language as well as a wide range of biographical entries. Usage notes give advice on using the right word in the right place, and thousands of etymologies trace the roots of modern English. A clear, two-colour page design helps to make this dictionary accessible and easy to use, and the new virtual thumb tab makes it even easier to find the entry you are looking for. The dictionary includes a supplement on words on the cusp of entering the language, as well as an extended essay on how English has changed in the last 30 years, and looking forwards to the next 30 years. We also include charts to illustrate changing language trends over the years. All definitions, examples, idioms, and usage notes are based on the Collins Corpus - our unrivalled and constantly updated 4.5 billion-word database of today's English - making it an authoritative and up-to-the-minute reference source.
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Mission IELTS 2 Academic is the second in a two-course book series which aims to help students to achieve their potential for success in the IELTS exam. Each of its thematic units aims to develop the core language and skills needed for success in one of the IELTS papers. Its innovative unit structure enables the user to focus in-depth on language and skills to improve performance in the different sections of each paper and provides thorough exam awareness training and practice for the different tasks in these papers. The series is complete with a General Training course supplement.