Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

What can we learn about the earliest human language by comparing languages known today?

Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

Lyle Campbell
University of Utah

Description

Looking back from modern languages, what can we find out about the earliest human language? The goal of this paper is to determine what, if anything, can be learned about the earliest human language(s) from evidence extant in modern and older attested languages. It evaluates attempts to arrive at the origins of language through such comparisons. The main finding is negative: because of so much change over such a long time, nothing of the original language(s) survives in modern languages in any form that could be usefully compared across-linguistically to give any indication of the lexical or structural content of the original language(s).

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Citation

Campbell, Lyle. What can we learn about the earliest human language by comparing languages known today?. Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 79 - 111 May 2008. ISBN 9781845535537. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=19027. Date accessed: 03 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.19027. May 2008

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