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Thread: A question about human language...not sure where to put it.

  1. #1 A question about human language...not sure where to put it. 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section, but I think language would fall into "behavior". I'd like to ask a question about this language:

    Reading this made me wonder. Was every ancestral language of Pirahã as limited as Pirahã itself? Other primitive languages, like Kung-ekoka, are much more flexible when it comes to expressing numerical concepts. The reason I wonder about this is because South America was (in my understanding) the last part of the globe humans reached. Why hadn't the languages of the first South Americans developed more complexity after such a long history?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    I dont know but I'll throw a few ideas around,
    maybe they were both isolated and their social structure/environment did not make complexity a necessity (or a byproduct of other factors).

    The passage of time by itself does not appear to be as much a factor as change in the environment(social, interaction, surroundings, climate, etc), a specific tiny change in a given culture can snowball by creating chain reaction of changes in the environment/understanding/interaction/lifestyle/etc. Had we not encountered(or chozen not to go near) some cultures in isolated jungles they might have not yet realized the earth was a sphere while the rest of us was colonizing the solar system.

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