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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« Where Shall I Put the Baby? | Main | The Oldest Form of Speech »

Comments

miguel

As always, a very interesting post. Though I guess a more appropriate title would be "Crying without an accent" :)

JanetK

Perhaps it would help to think of "putting down the baby" as a metaphor for freeing the hands. Whether the hands would be used for grooming (to hold the group together), or for gesturing (to communicate), or to hold the baby (that cannot grab and ride)- if early humans need their hands free for other things then the voice could be pushed into taking on hand tasks.

charles

My hypothesis is that language itself was invented by mothers to communicate with babies and children. As I also hypothesize that names are the first words ( based on the notion that kinship relations are simultaneously invented with language), this follows mildly in that the first naming and symboling was mothers naming babies and children.

Also, some of the earliest emblematic symbols would be toys, teaching devices.

So, women invented culture, symboling and language.

The above discussion adds some evidence supporting my hypotheses. Upright posture led to longer childhoods and longer dependency. Longer periods of dependency creates the social environement necessitating (the mother of invention) mothers' inventing language.

Uzza

A nice response. It moves beyond Chomsky's early premise of a restricted inventory of innate phonemes: When babbling begins at 7 months, babies have been learning to produce culturally matched sounds and gestures for over half their lives, ostensibly without “words” or “language.” (Bloomfield counted these culturally matched productions as words) Raising intonation in English, brow raise in ASL, nose wrinkle in ISN, are prosodic patterns (melody arcs) that share semantic information, cementing emotional bonds while piloting attn to the abstract, neutral topic of forming a question. They grammaticalize into their respective languages around age two.

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