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If language evolved, the earliest languages should be the simplest. But language studies show that the more ancient the language (for example: Latin, 200 B.C.; Greek, 800 B.C.; Linear B, 1200 B.C.; and Vedic Sanskrit, 1500 B.C.), the more complex it is with respect to syntax, case, gender, mood, voice, tense, verb form, and inflection. The best evidence shows that languages devolve; that is, they become simpler instead of more complex (f). Most linguists reject the idea that simple languages evolve into complex languages (g). [See [Figure 208]
If humans evolved, then so did language. All available evidence indicates that language did not evolve, so humans probably did not evolve either.
f. David C. C. Watson, The Great Brain Robbery (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976), pp. 83–89.
George Gaylord Simpson acknowledged the vast gulf that separates animal communication and human languages. Although he recognized the apparent pattern of language development from complex to simple, he could not digest it. He simply wrote, “Yet it is incredible that the first language could have been the most complex.” He then shifted to a new subject. George Gaylord Simpson, Biology and Man (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1969), p. 116.
“Many other attempts have been made to determine the evolutionary origin of language, and all have failed. ... Even the peoples with least complex cultures have highly sophisticated languages, with complex grammar and large vocabularies, capable of naming and discussing anything that occurs in the sphere occupied by their speakers. ... The oldest language that can reasonably be reconstructed is already modern, sophisticated, complete from an evolutionary point of view.” George Gaylord Simpson, “The Biological Nature of Man,” Science, Vol. 152, 22 April 1966, p. 477.
“The evolution of language, at least within the historical period, is a story of progressive simplification.” Albert C. Baugh, A History of the English Language, 2nd edition (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1957), p. 10.
“The so-called primitive languages can throw no light on language origins, since most of them are actually more complicated in grammar than the tongues spoken by civilized peoples.” Ralph Linton, The Tree of Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957), p. 9.
g. “It was Charles Darwin who first linked the evolution of languages to biology. In The Descent of Man (1871), he wrote, ‘the formation of different languages and of distinct species, and the proofs that both have been developed through a gradual process, are curiously parallel.’ But linguists cringe at the idea that evolution might transform simple languages into complex ones. Today it is believed that no language is, in any basic way, ‘prior’ to any other, living or dead. Language alters even as we speak it, but it neither improves nor degenerates.” Philip E. Ross, “Hard Words,” Scientific American, Vol. 264, April 1991, p. 144.
“Noam Chomsky ... has firmly established his point that grammar, and in particular syntax, is innate. Interested linguistics people ... are busily speculating on how the language function could have evolved ... Derek Bickerton (Univ. Hawaii) insists that this faculty must have come into being all at once.” John Maddox, “The Price of Language?” Nature, Vol. 388, 31 July 1997, p. 424.
[From “In the Beginning” by Walt Brown ]
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