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Tamil oldest language on earth, Sanskrit first in the universe?

Theories on the Origin and Evolution of Language​

The expression language origins refers to theories pertaining to the emergence and development of language in human societies.

Over the centuries, many theories have been put forward—and almost all of them have been challenged, discounted, and ridiculed. (See Where Does Language Come From?) In 1866, the Linguistic Society of Paris banned any discussion of the topic: "The Society will accept no communication concerning either the origin of language or the creation of a universal language." Contemporary linguist Robbins Burling says that "anyone who has read widely in the literature on language origins cannot escape a sneaking sympathy with the Paris linguists. Reams of nonsense have been written about the subject" (The Talking Ape, 2005).

In recent decades, however, scholars from such diverse fields as genetics, anthropology, and cognitive science have been engaged, as Christine Kenneally says, in "a cross-discipline, multidimensional treasure hunt" to find out how language began. It is, she says, "the hardest problem in science today" (The First Word, 2007).

Observations on the Origins of Language​

"Divine origin [is the] conjecture that human language originated as a gift from God. No scholar takes this idea seriously today."

(R.L. Trask, A Student's Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1997; rpt. Routledge, 2014)

"Numerous and varied explanations have been put forth to explain how humans acquired language—many of which date back to the time of the Paris ban. Some of the more fanciful explanations have been given nicknames, mainly to the effect of dismissal by ridicule. The scenario by which language evolved in humans to assist the coordination of working together (as on the pre-historic equivalent of a loading dock) has been nicknamed the 'yo-heave-ho' model. There's the 'bow-wow' model in which language originated as imitations of animal cries. In the 'poo-poo' model, language started from emotional interjections.

"During the twentieth century, and particularly its last few decades, discussion of language origins has become respectable and even fashionable. One major problem remains, however; most models about language origins do not readily lend themselves to the formation of testable hypotheses, or rigorous testing of any sort. What data will allow us to conclude that one model or another best explains how language arose?"

(Norman A. Johnson, Darwinian Detectives: Revealing the Natural History of Genes and Genomes. Oxford University Press, 2007).


From Words to Syntax​

"Language-ready modern children learn vocabulary voraciously before they begin to make grammatical utterances several words long. So we presume that in the origins of language a one-word stage preceded our remote ancestors' first steps into grammar. The term 'protolanguage' has been widely used to describe this one-word stage, where there is vocabulary but no grammar."

(James R. Hurford, The Origins of Language. Oxford University Press, 2014)

The Gesture Theory of Language Origin​

- "Speculation about how languages originate and evolve has had an important place in the history of ideas, and it has been intimately linked to questions about the nature of the signed languages of the deaf and human gestural behavior in general. It can be argued, from a phylogenetic perspective, the origin of human sign languages is coincident with the origin of human languages; sign languages, that is, are likely to have been the first true languages. This is not a new perspective--it is perhaps as old as nonreligious speculation about the way human language may have begun."

(David F. Armstrong and Sherman E. Wilcox, The Gestural Origin of Language. Oxford University Press, 2007)


Divided Views on the Origins of Language (2016)​

"Today, opinion on the matter of language origins is still deeply divided. On the one hand, there are those who feel that language is so complex, and so deeply ingrained in the human condition, that it must have evolved slowly over immense periods of time. Indeed, some believe that its roots go all the way back to Homo habilis, a tiny-brained hominid that lived in Africa not far short of two million years ago. On the other, there are those like [Robert] Berwick and [Noam] Chomsky who believe that humans acquired language quite recently, in an abrupt event. Nobody is in the middle on this one, except to the extent that different extinct hominid species are seen as the inaugurators of language’s slow evolutionary trajectory.

"That this deep dichotomy of viewpoint has been able to persist (not only among linguists, but among paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, cognitive scientists, and others) for as long as anyone can remember is due to one simple fact: at least until the very recent advent of writing systems, language has left no trace in any durable record. Whether any early humans possessed language, or didn’t, has had to be inferred from indirect proxy indicators. And views have diverged greatly on the matter of what is an acceptable proxy."

(Ian Tattersall, "At the Birth of Language." The New York Review of Books, August 18, 2016)

What was the first language on earth?
The first language on earth might be the origin of all languages or a dead language that fathered only a few of today’s languages. Since language is 150,000 years old and writing is only 6000, no written evidence of languages before can answer this question.

How did language start?
The origin of language was perhaps the need to communicate. Maybe the initial words were only howls and hoots, but eventually, they evolved to form a systematic way of communication for humans.


How Did Language Begin?​

What does the question mean?​

In asking about the origins of human language, we first have to make clear what the question is. The question is not how languages gradually developed over time into the languages of the world today. Rather, it is how the human species developed over time so that we - and not our closest relatives, the chimpanzees and bonobos - became capable of using language.

And what an amazing development this was! No other natural communication system is like human language. Human language can express thoughts on an unlimited number of topics (the weather, the war, the past, the future, mathematics, gossip, fairy tales, how to fix the sink...). It can be used not just to convey information, but to solicit information (questions) and to give orders. Unlike any other animal communication system, it contains an expression for negation - what is not the case. Every human language has a vocabulary of tens of thousands of words, built up from several dozen speech sounds. Speakers can build an unlimited number of phrases and sentences out of words plus a smallish collection of prefixes and suffixes, and the meanings of sentences are built from the meanings of the individual words. What is still more remarkable is that every typically-developing child learns the whole system from hearing others use it.

Animal communication systems, in contrast, typically have at most a few dozen distinct calls, and they are used only to communicate immediate issues such as food, danger, threat, or reconciliation. Many of the sorts of meanings conveyed by chimpanzee communication have counterparts in human 'body language'. For animals that use combinations of calls (such as some songbirds and some whales), the meanings of the combinations are not made up of the meanings of the parts (though there are many species that have not been studied yet). And the attempts to teach apes some version of human language, while fascinating, have produced only rudimentary results. So the properties of human language are unique in the natural world.

How did we get from there to here? All present-day languages, including those of hunter-gatherer cultures, have lots of words, can be used to talk about anything under the sun, and can express negation. As far back as we have written records of human language - 5000 years or so - things look basically the same. Languages change gradually over time, sometimes due to changes in culture and fashion, sometimes in response to contact with other languages. But the basic architecture and expressive power of language stays the same.

The question, then, is how the properties of human language got their start. Obviously, it couldn't have been a bunch of cavemen sitting around and deciding to make up a language, since in order to do so, they would have had to have a language to start with! Intuitively, one might speculate that hominids (human ancestors) started by grunting or hooting or crying out, and 'gradually' this 'somehow' developed into the sort of language we have today. (Such speculations were so rampant 150 years ago that in 1866 the French Academy banned papers on the origins of language!) The problem is in the 'gradually' and the 'somehow'. Chimps grunt and hoot and cry out, too. What happened to humans in the 6 million years or so since the hominid and chimpanzee lines diverged, and when and how did hominid communication begin to have the properties of modern language?

I have experience teaching Sanskrit..many a times people who study it expect instant download from the Universe into their brain because they think a Divine language has the capacity to do that.

I have had students who had told me " you are not the one teaching me .all the info is being downloaded into my brain from the Cosmos"

I wondered " surely this person can download from the cosmos at home isnt it? Why sign up to learn from me and download in my class?" LOL

This is what happens when we go overboard in attaching Divinity with anything.

We humans usually want a boost in our ego to feel what we adhere to is MORE divine than what others adhere too

Language is frequency,how the frequency rewires our brains and mind while we recite mantras all depend on how much we sincerely seek to improve ourselves.

Sometimes we do find people who chant mantras 24/7 yet behave badly?
How did that happen if the language is divine?
Surely something else too has a hand in it as why the behavior didnt improve isnt it?
There is no MAGIC I guess..only logic.
Dear Prasad, Renuka

Just as each part of the body and function is an amazing creation of God, so also should be language. Everything is a mapping of thoughts to either other thoughts or actions or speech. We do it spontaneously most of the times. Since it is spontaneous development I conjecture it is of divine origin.
Dear Prasad, Renuka

Just as each part of the body and function is an amazing creation of God, so also should be language. Everything is a mapping of thoughts to either other thoughts or actions or speech. We do it spontaneously most of the times. Since it is spontaneous development I conjecture it is of divine origin.
Sravna, since you are an Advaitin..surely you know everything is in Brahman, by Brahman, for Brahman.
So everything is Divine in origin.
Sravna, since you are an Advaitin..surely you know everything is in Brahman, by Brahman, for Brahman.
So everything is Divine in origin.
Yes Renuka. The belief in advaitic philosophy prompts me to be humble while at the same time gives me the confidence of being divine.
It is possible that Tamil be the oldest language on earth and Sanskrit still be the first language if Tamil originated on earth before the rishis came to earth and rishis spoke Sanskrit. Sanskrit could have originated before. It is a conjecture but I am trying to be consistent. I gave the rationale in my earlier messages for rishis coming from a different part of the universe to earth.
மூப்பு நிறைந்த சனக குமாரர்கள் நால்வருக்கு, யௌவன சுந்தரனான சிவபெருமான் தென் நோக்கி உட்கார்ந்து போதனை செய்த காலத்தில் அந்தப் பாடம் மௌனத்தின் மூலம் நடந்தது. பாடம் ஏன் தமிழிலோ ஸம்ஸ்க்ருதத்திலோ நடக்கவில்லை. ? ஆதி குருவிடமிருந்து மௌனத்தில் கிடைத்த ஞானம் எந்த மொழியில் முதல் சொல்லப்பட்டது ? ஷ்ரவண் மேலே கூறுவது போல் அந்த ரிஷிகள் பிரபஞ்சத்தில் எங்கிருந்து வந்தார்கள் ?

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