Why are people talking, and the animals do not

The human language is still not clearly defined. No one knows exactly when or how it started. There is an assumption that our ancestors began to speak when your hands — the main communicative tool in the world of primates — have been busy.

The amazing discoveries of linguistics told by etoi? Hypothesis Svetlana Burlak, specialist in comparative-historical linguistics, PhD, Senior Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies and the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics of the Philological Faculty.

— You say that there is no universally accepted definition of linguistic language. Does not interfere with this research?

No, it does not stop, because all normal adults are able to speak at least one language — in fact, kotoryya? they learned in childhood. And you can completely calm? But to study its structure, such as word order, a set of phonemes to determine, for example, which will be used in Cases Vepsian (or Russian, or Japanese) to express the sense of "he has worked with an ax" and "it worked as a shepherd, "do not need to think about the distinction between language and non-language. And in order to find out what in this case there are variations in different languages, which they are determined, from which arose the distinction between language and non-language is unimportant, because all human languages — it's just language. By any definition.

— But there are criteria that determine the properties of human language?

There are criteria for Charles Hockett, who appeared in the 1960s. But since then, biologists began to explore the communication systems of animals and pretty much everything found. And it turned out that each own? Stvo separately someone is yes. And many, almost all, are at the intermediate language that can teach apes and parrots.

Take, for example, the? Stvo called semantically (meaning that the krai? Nei? Least some elements kommunikativnoi? Systems comply with some elements of Ambient? Dei? Sensitivity). In monkeys, vervet monkeys have a cry of alarm, oboznachayuschii? Leopard, and there is a cry of alarm, oboznachayuschii? eagle. And it does not sound that reflects the emotional state of the animal. For emotional signals is important, they sound louder or softer, longer or shorter.

The researchers specifically in the tape recordings vary these parameters and found that they do not change the meaning of the signal. Dei? Opredelennyi exists? acoustically? image: while some acoustic parameters is a signal to the eagle, and had to run into the bush. If other — is a signal to a leopard, and had to escape on thin branches. and louder, quieter, longer, shorter — for vervet monkeys was not important.

Other own? Stvo — transferability, that is, the ability to communicate not only about what we have here and sei? Hour. If vervetka hear the cry of "heads", then it is able to yell "heads", fleeing into the bush, even if she does not see the eagle. She heard a "heads" — and this is enough to reproduce the scream and flee. If the ex? Samoa? while the eagle is not visible, it is already obtained transferability — by definition. In the experiments Jeanne Ilinichna Reznikoff holds with ants, scouts remotely suggest their foragers to walk in the right places. When ants? Scout returns to the nest and "explains" where to go for primankoi?, For him, it is certainly not here and sei? Hour.

Next. Hockett said the openness of human language: we can add to their communicative system, new signals. For example, there was a computer — added the word. And then I added the word "geek." But look: the chimpanzee Mai? DJs to come to? Mr. Goodall, drags her out of cans of kerosene and make loud? "Bamm." And the rest of Boars chimpanzees understand (though not the first time) that he had to tell them what he was clearest? glavnyi?.

So, if the communication system can be added from the kerosene cans, already have a public, as introduced in Nova? signal and it is understood relatives. In the study of different chimpanzee groups revealed that they have different signals. For example, in Kako? Grouping made something with a loud nibble the leaves, and the invitation to courtship, and drugoi? group of the same dei? consequence means an invitation to play. But since there are different signals, so they did not appear innately, and members etoi? grouping them once learned. This means that the communicative system chimps can add new characters. Although in practice rarely to new signals has become a tradition, but a fundamental discovery turns out already. Cultural continuity, of course, there are also times, such traditions are preserved and passed on.

Another own? Stvo released by Hockett — resolution: between signs of human language is no smooth transition, there is always a clear distinction
— Either a single character or drugoi?. For example, the word "bar" and "steam" different voicing, voicelessness first sound (physically correlative is the difference in the start and the beginning of the voice sound noise caused by opening the lips). If this parameter is changed smoothly, until a certain point, people will think that they heard "b", and after it — just "p", as if in a head switch pereschelkivaetsya.

Now, about the same experiments were performed on dumb? S. Unfortunate critters taught that Kako? Something of their species is accompanied by a weak signal electric shock. If dumb? I hear this signal, it tries to escape. Then the acoustic characteristics of the signal changes smoothly as long as it does not turn into drugoi? signal. It turned out that dumb? Fires and tacos? a "switch": up to a certain point, she thinks it's opasnyi? signal and need to escape, and after him — immediately stops to think so.

Following the? Stvo — evasiveness: The language allows you to build false or meaningless statements. Well, about primates (apes) are known to be at the event and can tell a lie.

More reflective — the human language we can argue about the language. But who needs it in nature? While these are not detected. But in the experiment — sometimes. For example, when the first gorilla Koko says she birdie, and then admits that joke. So chelovekoo-braznym monkeys this idea is readily available, easy to use nature of her nowhere.

In the 2000s, Steven Pinker and Rei? Dzhakendoff other criteria put forward language. I must say that these yours? Properties characteristic of human language for ogromnoi?, Giperrazvitoi? kommunikativnoi? systems. For example, the organization zvukovoi? aspect of language as a system of phonemes: in any language is ogranichennyi? a set of sounds that are used to distinguish words, and these sounds are opposed to each other on the grounds that run through most of the system — such as Russian hardness / softness or voiced / voiceless. Such a suit? Stvo handy when these small items lot, but when the elements is small, it can not wallpaper? Tis — just remember all possible signals separately.

Or, for example, the order of words: words in any language, follow each other in a certain pattern, and their order tells us a little of what to expect next. apes, as it turned out, it can learn. Thus, the bonobo Kanzi distinguished command: "Put a pine branch on the ball" and "put the ball on pine branch," "let the snake bite dog" and "let the dog bite the snake." it turns out that apes have opportunities to do so, but in nature there is no demand for it, because in the wild they do not build long chains of signs …

…- What we generally mean when we talk about the origins of human language?

This kazhdyi? researcher understands differently. Someone said that the main thing — to learn to use symbols to was arbitrary (ie not natural) link between formoi? and value. Someone said that the main thing — to break away from here and sei? Hour. Someone said that it is necessary to develop slozhnyi? syntax. Someone said that we should learn namerennoi? transmission of information. Naturally, with such different approaches to get different answers.

To me it was not the most interesting? Ti proverbial edge, and try to understand what's actually happening …

— What is your hypothesis?

I get a picture. If we look at Australopithecus, the brains they have, in general, the monkey — and the volume and organized? Stvu, judging from the endocast (casting with internal? Skull surface. — DM). And their hands were also in the more significant? degree monkey. Although the guns they apparently sometimes used, but regularly — at krai? Nei? As stone tools — not produced. Accordingly, they could use the taco? kommunikativnoi same? sistemoi? like chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees are very developed system neverbalnoi? communication. Of which there are quite a few sounds. And these sounds rather emotional complement, and will mainly controlled by gestures. Monkeys are widely used hands, and when they take out a banana, you understand where and why helping hand. This understanding forms the basis for zhestovoi? communication.

Australopithecus no one bothered to do the same.
Besides the most? Dena hyoid Australopithecus and Nei? show that they had throat sacs like modern chimpanzees. And as for the throat bags recently found out that they negate the effects of articulation. For chimpanzees is very useful, because they can chew and vocalize at the same time, and the signal at the same time should not depend on whether they have turned the language. Australopithecus throat if the bags were, therefore, they do too comfortable.

And then start making tools?. A person skilled (Homo habilis) have formed labor brush kotoroya? easy to manufacture guns. This means that of Australopithecus, "came out in people," those who have had to adapt to make tools? (More precisely, those who managed to collect all of these devices together). And they start to do it on a regular basis: manufactured, used, worn with Sobolev? — Arms, respectively, are occupied. And zhestovoi? communication? difficulties were due to start.

In etoi? advantage of the situation were to get the ones who knew how to sound the general excitement to guess what he meant saying?. Even if it's just a non-vyaknet articulately, but the others would guess this is enough to ensure that the information has been transferred.

Next come Homo erectus,
which gun? even more, to make them even longer and can be used in an even wider variety of situations. hands are busy — you can only focus on the sound.

Then there is gay? Delbergskii? people (Homo heidelbergensis), which was already quite razvityi? complex adaptation? to zvuchaschei? speech. He has no throat sacs, as the structure podyazychnoi? bone. This means that for him the articulation was relevant. It is wide enough? pozvonochnyi? channel — wider than erectus. This means that from the brain to the organs of respiration (the diaphragm primarily) were many Nei? neurons — many "wires" for management. A diaphragm plays a very important role in the speech. when we say we need, first, to deliver air to the vocal cords portions, syllable by syllable, otherwise it will not be concerned and nechlenorazdelnyi? scream.

Wide? channel allows pronounce long statements of several syllables. Hof even a single syllable in our bodies articulation is more closed, then lower.
And zvukovoi? Energy is something more, sometimes less, because it is extinguished lips and tongue. Accordingly, our diaphragm delivers air to the ligaments, so that no matter how much power went out, came about the same. Otherwise it will be what psychologists call maskoi?: If for another stimulus should drugoi quickly? and one of them is significantly more silnyi?, more slabyi? incentive people do not perceive. So if I did not stop so-called paradoxical motion?, We would not be able to pronounce the syllables like "it", since the "o" off the beaten path to a "t".

Another factor — the reconstruction of the curve? hearing. For gay? Delbergskogo man this was possible because, from a few preserved ossicles. modern humans, unlike chimpanzees, there are two peaks is better? hearing: one for low frequencies (approximately the same location in the chimpanzee) and drugoi? — At higher frequencies, just where the differences in the characteristics of the sound provided articulation?. Now, we gay? Delbergskogo person, according to the reconstructed, vtoroi? peak already planned — someone he is more pronounced, someone less … This means that to hear the differences that give articulation, they were for some reason you need. Did they have "is a current? language "- who knows? Even if they had access to something, it does not mean that they really enjoyed it.

Among other things, the language is very important to be able to draw conclusions several packages at once, focus on the essentials, apart from the non-essential (in particular this applies to the pure sound difference?) keep operativnoi? Memory enough units to be able to generalize the syntax rules defined on long sentences. All this provides the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex? brain that have gay? delbergskogo people were smaller than Homo sapiens.

But Lee says the Neanderthals? WHAT ABOUT THEM?

Neanderthals wide spinal canal. Hyoid bone shows no throat bags (which is not surprising, because they, like us, the descendants of Homo heidelbergensis, only sapiens descended from African geydelberzhtsev and Neanderthals — from Europe). It is unlikely that they could lower Heidelberg man. And they have brains, again, large (greater than ours) … In general, the best of the Neanderthals from Leonid Borisovich Vishnyatsky written, in his recent book.


Yes, it is often said, they say, if the people themselves to hang all sorts of shells, trinkets, it means that they had a language. But take a closer look, if we see a man, hung with decorations, what does this tell us? Perhaps his wealth may be, the stylistic preferences, the presence or absence of taste, sense of beauty, etc., may be of some psychological characteristics of personality … But we rarely are able to express it in words, we would rather feel some emotions with respect to such person. And the man himself, wearing earrings, necklace or something like that, just to be able to clearly explain what he meant to say.

So, it is not related to the language, and to the field of non-verbal communication — as well as his gait, posture, facial expressions, intonation … Accordingly, if it is shown that some people — no matter sapiens and Neanderthals — adorn themselves with beads or red ocher, it would show only that they have achieved great success in non-verbal communication. And the language, alas, it does not say.

Returning to the sapiens, THERE ASSUMPTIONS THAT APPEARED Omitted larynx, is necessary for articulate speech?

-It is not known — because soft tissues are not preserved. On the height of the larynx is judged by bazikrani-cial corner — the bending of the skull base (who abruptly curved base of the skull, the even more lowered larynx). But the lowered larynx is good not by itself, but for the ratio of the oral cavity with the length of the pharynx. If it is the same, then you can say "extreme" vowels, that is to distinguish between "a", "i" and "y." Neanderthals was not possible: his jaw indicate a length of oral cavity, larynx for the balance would have to be placed somewhere in the chest. But, on the other hand, why it is imperative to be able to say "and"? It is quite possible to take a couple of vowels (eg, one to say with a very open mouth, the other with a not entirely disclosed, or distinguish them by the length or the tone), add lots and lots of consonants — and get equipment, suitable for any number of words. Live as Abkhaz-Circassian languages with a minimum of vowels!

How true that language begins with a comment?

I do not know, it's just my guess. I just think that the language in the greatest measure is optimized for the problem to pay attention to some other part. When we cry, "back," or "Caution," says the barmaid: "Coffee, please," or teach someone, such as tying shoelaces, we do not need a complex syntax. But some details are important: "back", and not "side", "coffee", not "juice", "here hold" to not untied shoelace. So if the ancient hominids accompanied their actions or observing something noticeable (best of all — the sound department to be distracted), their relatives could take this into account (and change, if necessary, a course of conduct).

For evolutionary hypotheses is always considered difficult point: if there is something that works well as a highly developed, how it might appear, as it can be useful as it is weak? But my hypothesis in this context are lucky: if our ancestors were intelligent and loved to interpret that whatever is handy (and this feature is developed in primates and modern man in the highest degree), it is sufficient to increase the visibility of any, even the most minimal and not necessarily intentional. By the way, our language — is still largely a guessing game: the speaker said that he could say, and listening to understand that he could understand. Sometimes understands even better than it was said, and adjusts the speaker, and sometimes — worse, and talking then complains to his dullness.

Propensity comment is very developed in young children: they comment on their actions and the actions of their toys, and even just walking down the street, be sure to show the finger at the car and say, "Bibik!" (Or something similar). In adults, this comment goes into the inner speech. I guess the same could be the case with human language in general.

OTHER GROUPS sapiens presumably start to speak in different languages or in one?

Who is to say? Geneticists say that our species in its development has gone through a bottleneck — reduction of nearly ten thousand people. Naturally, they are not lived in a very large area. Is it possible to live without a common language? Probably depends on how much is it in the territory of resources. Historians study show that, when resources are abundant, the tribes tend to defend their territory, they do not let strangers and even brides taken only from their own tribe, not to disperse wealth, and in a poor environment, on the contrary, develop community bonds, to whom it was ask for help in case of very extreme need. The first situation has to ensure that every family kept their own language, the second — to the spread of the language, common to all the tribes.

Is the language evolves, now and in what direction?

Whether it turns into something fundamentally different? No, it is not converted. Does the inside of it yourself? Yes, I have. Language can not be changed. Esperanto even when it has become widely used in direct live contact, began to change. If our language — a guessing game, for normal communication you do not have to say, exactly like the other: if your language systems are close enough, then you will understand (and do not require the full identity).

Is it possible to define some TRENDS in language, for example, simplification or globalization?

That someone easier, they are different languages decide differently. Russian language is quite easy to have a few consonants at the beginning of the word, but, for example, Finnish — no. Chinese language just to have the tones, and the Russian-no. Therefore, if the Russian language borrows words from the Chinese, he never fails to comply tone. Each language is, of course, tends to simplify, but each in his own direction. So it makes little sense to speak of a global trend towards linguistic simplification.

Survives in the future in various languages, or we will all speak the same?

And this is the question of who will overtake anyone. Now, on the one hand, globalization is going — is spreading online, and in it — English, the language of international communication. If you want to get out into the world, without in any way. But on the other hand, the same Internet allows fragmentation of the world: not necessarily speak to all, can be found a narrow group of like-minded people and talk to them — now not only writing, but also orally, so even with the video. A group can be different. There is, for example, a group of people who travel every year to Karelia, live there life and Native American Indian language spoken by the Lakota. Through the Internet, they can communicate with these Indians, and talk to them in that language. In principle, any language can be found fans. There is, for example, fans of spoken Latin, they speak it to each other and even sing in Latin (in a very high-quality, I must say, the transfer!) "Murka" and "Yellow Submarine» (Yellow submarine).

So now I'm waiting to see what comes first: whether small languages die out, or they will get to "Skype" and fans. And timidly forward to the second.

Magazine "Details of the world"

Category: Hypotheses

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