Skip to comments.Spoken Language Influenced by Elevation, Say Anthropologists
Posted on 06/15/2013 9:59:32 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
The study, led by Caleb Everett, associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami, reveals that languages containing ejective consonants are spoken mainly in regions of high elevation. Ejectives are sounds produced with an intensive burst of air. The findings also indicate that as elevation increases, so does the likelihood of languages with ejectives.
"Ejectives are produced by creating a pocket of air in the pharynx then compressing it." Everett says. "Since air pressure decreases with altitude and it takes less effort to compress less dense air, I speculate that it's easier to produce these sounds at high altitude."
When heard, the ejective sounds much like an abrupt, intense "k" sound produced from the back of the palette. Many of these sounds can be heard, for example, in the K'iche Mayan language of the central highlands of Guatemala.
To conduct the study, Everett analyzed the locations of 600 representative languages out of the total of 7,000 languages of the world. Ninety two of them exhibited ejectives. He utilized the World Atlas of Linguistic Structuresthe most comprehensive survey of linguistic sounds. Everett imported the coordinates of these languages into the geographic software of Google Earth and ArcGIS v. 10.0, then superimposed the locations of these sound systems on the world's landscape to analyze the patterns. He found that they occured in five of the six major high altitude regions on earth where people live. The only region where languages with ejectives are absent is the large Tibetan plateau and the adjacent areas. The people of this region, according to Everett, are thought to have a unique adaptation to high altitude that may explain this.
Everett is now studying other correlations between geography and the way language is spoken.
(Excerpt) Read more at popular-archaeology.com ...
How do they know what Neanderthal sounds like?
Human population tends to be lower altitude — of the approximately 7 billion people, over 90 percent live at or under 1000 feet elevation. In the US that may have started to tip lower, because of the areas around Phoenix and Denver, and Phoenix isn’t all that much higher than 1000 feet.
For a long time, as you probably remember, it was denied that Neandertal could even speak; the obnoxious godfather of mtDNA even claimed that speech lived on mtDNA, and that Neandertal died out as a “village idiot” which couldn’t speak.
That was so obnoxious, he should have been suspended and brought up on a tenure hearing, and if not fired then censured or forced into retirement. He wound up dying of cancer.
The Neandertal Enigma"Frayer's own reading of the record reveals a number of overlooked traits that clearly and specifically link the Neandertals to the Cro-Magnons. One such trait is the shape of the opening of the nerve canal in the lower jaw, a spot where dentists often give a pain-blocking injection. In many Neandertal, the upper portion of the opening is covered by a broad bony ridge, a curious feature also carried by a significant number of Cro-Magnons. But none of the alleged 'ancestors of us all' fossils from Africa have it, and it is extremely rare in modern people outside Europe." [pp 126-127]
by James Shreeve
in local libraries
Deeeeude. Hey. Whaaaadja say again? Still stoooooooooned off my aaaas from a day a da beach, mannnn.... Souuuuunds totally narly....
I didn’t consider that. So does his language sample cover all the languages that contain ejectives?
Yes and I’m going to read that book you always recommend, but I still don’t know how they know what Neadertal speech sounded like.
It's true! Whenever my brother got high he would start speaking gibberish!
Sounds like they have the low down on higher learnin’!
No cave library should be without the
"Clan of the Cave Bear" series,
by Jean Auel. Not only is this exciting author an expert on Neandertal Linguistics, she is also an expert on the breaking of wild horses, prehistoric theology,and to top it off, the very explicit Dr. Kinsey of the prehistoric set.
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