Prosody-pragmatics rich language- the case of Piraha~?

A. Katz amnfn at
Thu May 25 18:32:23 UTC 2006

Noel Rude wrote:

>But of course the study of pidgins and creoles comes in here--left to
>themselves children will create a more isolating system

More isolating than a pidgin? I thought creolization went the other way,
creating a less isolating structure.

>somewhat analogous to blind cave fish.  It may say a lot about what can
>happen in an environment of deprivation, perhaps less about how Language
>got here.

Not being in contact with other groups is not necessarily "an environment
of deprivation" for human beings. T. Givon, for instance, suggests that
our ancestors were used to living in a society of intimates, and that when
language emerged, that's how all humans were living. (BIOLINGUSITICS, John
Benjamins 2002). The massive populations that we are used to now are a
result of agriculture (not to speak of industrialization.) Most humans,
not too long ago, lived in very small, mostly isolated groups. Their
society was less complex, but it's quite possible that their language
might have been synthetic, rather than isolating. A smaller lexicon with
tighter fusion is characteristic of languages used by hunter gatherers, as
opposed to urban traders. (of course, there are exceptions, but they have
historical explanations.)



Dr. Aya Katz, Inverted-A, Inc, P.O. Box 267, Licking, MO
65542 USA
(417) 457-6652 (573) 247-0055

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