This post marks five years of blogging. Usually on my anniversary post I summarize what I've learned so far. But since I've just published a book setting forth everything I've learned, I'm celebrating this year's anniversary by taking the day off.
Giants of poetry stand as an illustration of how intertwined language and being human are. I'm tired of theories that ignore the mix.
I read a technical article the other day that discussed a way of evolving language without needing to cooperate. (The paper is available online, here.) When I first approached it my expectation was that I would present the author's argument and leave it to the readers of the blog to accept the finding or not. I changed my mind, however, when I got around to reading the paper. Working on this blog, and my book too, has broadened what I require of an account of origins.
The latest issue of Science, just published, devotes several papers to a consideration of Australopithecus sediba, a species identified in southern Africa and dated to between 1.95 and 1.76 million years ago. When the species was identified in 2008 I wasn't much interested because the genus Homo was already perhaps a million years old by then, so this finding seemed to outside the human lineage. There were many bipedal apes three million years ago and even after the emergence of Homo bipedal apes persisted. The new Science issue considers the possibility that A. sediba led into Homo as we now know it.
The porch on the Acropol Hotel in Morogoro, Tanzania. A friend recently told me I used to pontificate there on the subject of language origins. I remember the pontificiating, but not the topic. (This photo of New Acropol Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor )
This Tuesday, the 6th of September, marks the official publication of the Babel's Dawn book, presenting the story of the 6 million year long process that led to the appearance of true speech. I learned ninety plus percent of the material in the book by working on this blog, but the passion I bring to the issue is very old. More for my own curiosity than anything else, I thought I would celebrate the publication by figuring out the various key moments in my lifelong search.
Encephalon, the monthly anthology of blog posts has just been published and includes te Babel's Dawn post on Chomsky's presentation in Cologne which I titled "Does Language Exist." Check out the whole anthology here.