>The above quote is from Nietzsche. It places language-origins in
>the realm of psychology.

Your playful inquiry is a little blurry since you fail to seperate
three seperate debates. I will seperate them for you:

1. The ultimate origins of human language
2. The origins of all human languages
3. The origins of Nostratic languages

You'll have to just trust me for now that Debates Number One and
Number Two are not the same thing...

1. The ultimate origins of human language
In the context of a debate concerning the ultimate origins of
human language, I can sympathize with your quote. However,
the quote is somewhat verbose and cluttered with poetry rather
than getting to the meat of the answer. My view is that sign
language was originally more predominant as a means of communication
amongst humans in the remote past, used ever since we were able to
stand upright and free our hands for various tasks.

You see, gestures are less abstract and more intuitive than
phonemes. Even animals use a rougher form of gestural communication
called "body language" to convey their feelings. So gestural language
is really nothing more than something inherited from our primate

I suggest that the explosion of language was brought about
approximately at the same time as our new-found ability to stand on
only two feet. From there, language developed into something
much more complex and our brains developed accordingly. Later,
our vocal cords developed as well, allowing our voice to more
effectively communicate, slowly replacing gestural communication
except for some uses in hunting where you don't want to spook
the animals with your voice.

So, to say that we should place "language-origins in the realm of
psychology" is a bit of a nonsensical statement in the end.

2. The origins of all human languages
Gerry stated:
>is Nostratic composed of all languages [...]

Nostratic is by no means "Proto-World", the latter name being used
as the theoretical ancestor of *all* world languages. The Nostratic
Theory is only meant to account for *some* of the languages now
existing across Europe, Asia and North Africa. However, Nostratic
doesn't explain SinoTibetan, nor does it explain Ket or Burushaski
or Nama or Swahili. Another theory called SinoCaucasian, SinoDene
or DeneCaucasian is used to explain the origins of SinoTibetan,
Abkhaz-Adhyghe and NaDene, for example. However, Kerns considers
Nostratic to be a Dene-Caucasian (as I do), thereby making DC
a much older grouping than Nostratic which gets into tens of
thousands of years before present.

The origin of all human languages is not the same as the ultimate
origin of human language. The languages that now exist in the world
probably only go back some 100,000 years or so. However, human
language itself must be much older than this. It's similar to the
idea of an "Eve" ancestor in genetics whereby all humans derive
from a woman living some 180,000 years ago, even though she clearly
was begotten by humans living even earlier in time. Hence similarly,
the origin of all humans and the *ultimate* origin of humans are
two different pandora's boxes.

By the way, since Nostratic (or any other theory that explains
language origins like IndoEuropean, Uralic, etc) is and always will
be a "hypothesis", saying that my thoughts on the language are
hypothetical is highly redundant. Of course, they're hypothetical!

3. The origins of Nostratic languages
I'm tired of typing, I've attempted to explain Nostratic already
on my website. Check this link out...

>And what of the different ethnic groups that speak a given language?

Once again, ethnicity and language are totally seperate issues.
A particular group may speak more than one language at the same
time. If what you have in mind is the ol' American concept of race
(White, Black, Hispanic, yadayadayada) where pseudo-stats of each
arbitrary racial grouping are spewed constantly on US News to the
annoyance of many Canadians who really don't get the racial
obsession, you can flush that down the toilet. You'll understand
ethnology and linguistics better when you learn to accept that
genetics are fluid and gradient like language and that neither
may necessarily follow the same path.

Glen Gordon

email: glengordon01@...
ph: (604)904.0320

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