“Primitive” cultures can still have the Most Complex Language in the World. The article is only a few paragraphs long, but thinking about such complex communication might make your brain overheat! Human language is always a complex thing and all people are created in the image of God.
Ancient Chinese writing, which is still plenty complicated today, was even more complex long ago:
“The general principles of construction of the Chinese written language have remained unchanged,” but variations have gone from “complex to simple construction, from irregular to stabilized forms, from formal to free lines, and from slow to rapid execution” (203).
If you look at the way people wrote long ago, they expected their people to be really smart to do the writing or even just to read it. These writings weren’t hidden where just the fancy people could see them either, they were often on the sides of buildings or even on special pillars so everyone could see them.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them,… Genesis 1:26-28a
Dr. Walt Brown has a short page of quotes on Human Language in his online book In The Beginning.
“The features of language as listed above are a dated formulation by Hockett in 1960. Through this formulation Hockett made one of the earliest attempts to break down features of human language for the purpose of applying Darwinian gradualism. Although an influence on early animal language efforts (see below), is today not considered the key architecture at the core of “animal language” research.” From Wikipedia, Animal Language.
Did Evolutionary thinking lead them to the truth about animal speech? Would Creationist thinking have failed like this?
“Language sets people apart from all other creatures. Every known human society has had a language and though some nonhumans may be able to communicate with one another in fairly complex ways, none of their communication systems begins to approach language in its ability to convey information.” Opening comments on Scholarpedia: Language (linguistics)
“There is much more to be said about the unity in diversity of human languages. All languages are manifestations of the single phenomenon, language, that most characteristic of human attributes.” Conclusion of Language (linguistics) by Scholarpedia.
« To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, A Psalm of David. » I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. Psalm 9:1,2
I was going through my collection of idea starters and saw quite a number on the subject of language. I haven’t covered this topic at all except for last week’s mention of the ancient Chinese writing on the Olmec figures from Mexico, so we’ll see how much I can cover today!
This article on “Primitive Languages” from Answers in Genesis is a fun read. I’ve spent time in Germany trying to learn their language and I can say AiG is quite right about how complicated any foreign language is. What is so simple that a 4-year-old native speaker can express with great flair is extraordinarily difficult for someone trying to learn as an adult!
The gap between the “simplest” human language and the most complex animal communication is immense and impossible to cross even though many scientists have been trying. Although Evolutionists have to assume that there was some kind of simple ProtoLanguage for the first homo-sapiens to speak before they developed into fully functioning Humans, there is no evidence for anything like this.
Because they must have some story to explain things, you can find a number of hypotheses about how we developed speech. But there actually are some real blocks to keep any animal that wanted to from copying us. Wikipedia talks about this and says, “Paradoxically, it is precisely primates’ resistance to deception that blocks the evolution of their signalling systems along language-like lines. Language is ruled out because the best way to guard against being deceived is to ignore all signals except those that are instantly verifiable. Words automatically fail this test.” This means that monkeys and apes are going to treat any word that doesn’t match what’s going on as a lie and ignore it!
I wanted to find out what secular linguists (language scholars) say about the age of the world’s languages. I was pleasantly surprised by their accurate claims. It is difficult to tell how long people have been speaking a particular language unless you have writing of some kind. So, of course, the first people to wise up, settle down and keep written documents were far away from eastern Turkey/Armenia where the Ark landed, NOT!
Egyptian is no surprise to us, since we all study that culture first in Ancient History. Sumerian is the other equally ancient written language. So where was Sumer? In the area of Babylon and Ur!
The only difference between the linguists’ claims and what the Bible shows us is about 1,000 years off the timeline (Wikipedia is closer) and without a supposed 100,000 year period of slow Evolutionary advance before the sudden flower of Human speech.
So, what about Language families. Turns out there are 9 main divisions of language with some more that won’t fit neatly into their groupings. The most famous and longest studied is the Indo-European group, probably because most of the linguists speak one of these languages! I really this map showing how these languages spread out.
Pre-Columbian distribution of Na-Dene languages in North America
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to find a similar map for the other language groups. Here’s an interesting article I ran into on Dictionary.com that talks about how two languages on different continents are close enough to be considered relatives. There’s a language called Ket is Siberia who’s only similar languages are spoken in North America. This tells us that the Siberian group either came from or sent some people on to America (which do you think is more likely?).We aren’t told how many languages God split the people of Babel into, but we do know that languages keep splitting and changing all the time now. Odds are, some of the words we use every day will be bad words when you’re a grandparent. And some words that no decent person would say now will be harmless then. Not to mention all the brand new words we will need for things that haven’t been invented yet!
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: Genesis 11:6-8a