Analytic languages and their function. (3)

A. Katz amnfn at
Sat May 27 13:21:52 UTC 2006

Quoth Jess Tauber:

>Aya Katz k-i:kama:n-ude:
>>But animal cries, even those of our closest relatives, tend to be holistic,
>> in the sense that a whole sentence is communicated with a single word,
>>as is thecase in the most synthetic of human languages.<
>Not so fast...  Single phonological 'word' yes, but still morphologically
>complex, to the analyst (even if the speaker is unaware of the
>constructivepre-packaging of the finished product).

That's right -- single phonological word, but still morphologically
complex. That's precisely what I meant. My point was that in all
likelihood, early human language was tightly bound on the phonological
level, while exhibiting a certain degree of morphological complexity.

This is in sharp contrast to a pidgin, where morphologically simplex words
are phonologically isolated, so that each morpheme is uttered separately.

It's time to stop assuming that early human language resembled the speech
of Tarzan, Tonto and Frankenstein's Monster in American movies and certain
SNL sketches.

Meaning abides in contrast. The idea that we could have amassed a language
out of individual monomorphemic words, one word at a time, is



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

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