PIE vs. Proto-World (Out of Africa)

Rick Mc Callister rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu
Thu Aug 19 16:54:01 UTC 1999

>But even if Out of Africa is correct you've never established the point where
>it corresponds to a language or languages.

	I wouldn't presume to be able to do so. I'm just saying that the
universal ability for language suggests that language dates back before a
world wide dispersal and that genetic data suggests that all modern humans
who dispersed from Africa come from the same mitochondrial pool. There is
some argument on the precise dating of that pool but it is a determined
fraction of the date of an ancestor common to all living human.

So that separation date is an
>arbitrary correlation as far as what left Africa - e.g., the evacuation of
>New Guinea and 500 languages leave.

	I don't understand your point here


>Neanderthals and moderns coexisted.  No O of A needed.   And why is
>monogenesis needed to explain language capacity 300,000 years ago or 35,000
>years ago?  None of these scenarios demand language monogenesis.

	If Neanderthals had language, then surely the first modern humans
would have had it, thus all existing languages would have the same origin


>Which means you are saying that modern language could have only started
>40,000 years ago.

	No, you are

><<...I suspect that language was the key to modern human
>expansion from Africa throughout the rest of the world.>>

>I like that, but it's hard to buy.  What you actually need is a raft or about
>70,000 years to find a Bering Strait landbridge to the new world.  The latter
>has archaelogical support.

	Not realy, there are a handful of archaeologists who claim this but
the excavations of most postulated pre-Clovis sites is said to be very
flawed although are some sites less than 30,000 BP that are gaining
acceptance. From what I remember, genetic evidence [and physical studies
such as teeth] suggests that the first Native Americans arrived c. 15-30
KBP. There are suggestions that another group may have arrived later,
corresponding to the Clovis culture. The first Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dene
speakers arrived much later.


>Speech (hypoglossal canal-wise) may be a lot older than Out of Africa.
>Language (as modern speech capacity or language system) could be a lot
>younger.  And Out of Africa could be just flat out dead wrong.  So where does
>that leave us?

	All modern humans have the same capability for language, which
suggests that language developed before humans dispersed from Africa.
	The question of mono- vs. polygenesis in Africa can be argued
various ways:
	Did language arise once among a small population and then expand to
other modern humans?
	Did language arise once among a small population which then used
its advantage to supplant all other humans?
	Did it arise separately among various groups in a small area which
coalesced to form one ur-language?
	Did it arise separately among various groups among which only one
survived or passed on its language?
	Are existing African languages families the only living descendants
of various original language groups?
	And there's the question of whether to define as mono- or
polygenesis a case of all existing languages descending from a common
ancestor with some extinct languages from different origins

Rick Mc Callister
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus MS 39701

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