This is a fascinating post and one to which I wish offer my
commentary. I'll try posting it below.

> Larry Trask wrote: (mixing posts)

> I'd guess that the extent to which a language conserves its
> correlates to some degree with its lack of contact with other
> languages. I imagine that even an isolated language would change
> drastically over time, but it might also retain some of its
> much longer than a non-isolate. And if not, how would we know that?

GR: Haven't word list analogies proven a connection?

> >Here we go with the nonsense. Apart from a few special cases like
> >creoles, all human languages are equally "old", and no language is
> >"older" than any other. An assertion that one language is older
> >another is meaningless, and it shows merely that the speaker
> >know what he's talking about.

GR: A provocative concept. Do all languages originate from one
source? Don't know, yet the evidence might suggest just that.
Whether or not one language is older than the other.....depends on
whether one is viewing Russian Stacking Dolls (concentric circles) or
a branching bush. IMO we should be viewing the former.

> To use a fish analogy, I suppose sturgeon are not "older" than the
> cichlid species of Lake Victoria, yet they've maintained
> the same form for 100 million years, while some of the latter have
> been around for only a few thousand or less. These obviously
> pop into existence from thin air, but I think it's pretty
> to say the cichlid is the "younger" of the two.

GR: Somewhere on the web (and elsewhere) I've seen the fish analogy
whereby the larger fish devours the smaller one. Makes me think of
the original Darwinian thought not unlike Russian stacking dolls.

> >Since the time of King Alfred, English has changed so drastically
> >that King Alfred could understand nothing of our speech, if he
> >hear it, and we can't even understand the written English of his
> >without learning it as a foreign language. But declaring English
> >be "extinct" is hardly an appropriate response. Nor does it make a
> >lot of sense to declare Old English to be "extinct". If it went
> >extinct, then where did modern English come from?
> If Old English isn't extinct, don't we have to say that Homo
> isn't either?

GR: Wow. This idea is a HOT one. Old English is a foreign least on the part of English majors. Yet even Old
English retains some semblance of similarity with spoken English.
Yes, I do see a similarity with Homo erectus (or Homo sapiens).
Actually I now see a very GREAT similarity between language and
species origins.

> >The authors point out that the Hadzabe and the Ju|'hoansi
> >from the rest of us very early -- fine -- and from this they
> >that the languages of these two peoples must be exceptionally
> >conservative. But, by the same token, the rest of us separated
> >these two groups very early, and so *our* languages ought to
> >be the conservative ones.

GR: If these languages can be thought to separate from a single
source, then all languages in some ways are related.

> The authors infer from genetic data that the Hadzabe and the
> Ju|'hoansi separated *from each other* very early, so that the
> in their current languages may be conserved features.

GR: ???


> Two lines of evidence, rarity of clicks in human languages and
> complexity of the shared repertoire of clicks and accompaniments,
> suggest that independent invention of clicks in San and Hadzabe
> populations is an unlikely explanation for the observed genetic
> pattern. With regards to complexity of click repertoires, each
> language includes a particular set of clicks and accompaniments.
> languages include larger sets than others do, but these sets do
> overlap. The clicks integral to Hadzane largely overlap with those
> clicks integral to Khwe and San languages. The hypothesis of
> independent invention, as it applies to the languages of the
> and San, lacks linguistic support...

GR: I haven't had the chance to investigate the physiology of those
using the click language yet I would expect it to be a peculiar
physiological development.

> ...[Another] a priori explanation of sharing of clicks by San and
> Hadzabe in the context of genetic differentiation is linguistic
> borrowing. Xhosa, for instance, while uncontestedly a Bantu
> incorporates some clicks borrowed from Khwe or San languages. The
> extensive population contact required for such click borrowing,
> however, leaves a genetic signature through gene flow, as has been
> well documented. The minimal genetic similarity between San and
> Hadzabe consists of sharing the NRY M2 mutation. Data herein and
> elsewhere strongly suggest that M2 has been introduced into
> click-speaking groups by non-click-speaking neighbors. In addition,
> gene flow leads to short, central branches for admixed populations,
> contrary to Ju|'hoansi and Hadzabe differentiation. Finally,
> distortions of the tongue required to produce click consonants
> borrowing of the full repertoire of clicks by adult nonnative
> speakers. The Nguni language, for instance, includes a click system
> that is far less deeply integrated and complex than the systems of
> Hadzabe and San languages. Deep mtDNA and NRY divergence between
> and Hadzabe is contrary to expectations under a scenario of
> of clicks by Hadzabe from San. Current genetic and nongenetic data
> are inconsistent with three of four a priori explanations for
> of clicks without genetic similarity."

GR: Yada, yada, yada. My question is simply: is there a
physiological reason the "click" people speak "click"?

> So why, if clicks are so rare, and if indeed these groups have been
> isolated from one another for so long, do they both have clicks?

GR: Why? Could be something peculiar about their
throat/larynx/vocal cords etc.


> authors' suggestion that they're a conserved element of what was
> the same language seems to me to have some merit.
> ************
> On the question of the minimum size of the ancestral human
> if anyone cares here are a few references:
> FJ Ayala, A Escalante, C O'hUigin, and J Klein
> Molecular Genetics of Speciation and Human Origins
> PNAS 1994 91: 6787-6794.
> N Takahata
> Allelic genealogy and human evolution
> Mol Biol Evol 1993 10: 2-22
> Li, W. and Sadler, L.
> DNA variation in humans and its implications for human evolution.
> Oxford Surveys in Evolutionary Biology, 1992. 8:111-134.
> JG
> News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences - Issue 90 - 22nd March,
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
> --
> Mark Hubey
> hubeyh@...