Which one comes first ? The language or the letters?

by awledd 22 replies
I hope the language comes first and then the letters follow. If that is the case why do people pronounce for eg, internet not exactly how it is written but maybe something like this Innernet. I guess that should have been the representative letters for that voice/sound.

I guess I am a little confused here. Forget the above eg. but which one comes first in your opinion?
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    The internet IS pronounced INTERNET! There is also an INTRANET which is pronounced INTRANET.

    I can't be 100% sure about english, but DANISH was a language BEFORE the letters. Since German is considered a distinct society and supposedly the progenitor of Danish, IT must predate the characters. A lot of sanskrit apparently predates the letters.

    But the letters get so relatively complex, and require a method to write them, and are a generally inefficient way to communicate. They evolved asakind of storage mechanism, and to convey info to the masses, so it would make sense that the language came first.

    MOST languages DON'T CARE where something comes from. They will readily adopt words from other languages. And many languages either mispronounce them, or people feel that they should be pronounced according to the letters, so words will seem misspelled, or the word would change.

    HEY, look at the english word theatre. Most languages don't really have the th sound, but adopted the word,and would say "tay a ter".

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author awledd
    In the Wikipedia article referenced above, it reads "True writing, in which the content of a linguistic utterance is encoded so that another reader can reconstruct, with a fair degree of accuracy, the exact utterance written down[A 1] is a later development"

    So it has to be the language that came first then the letters.

    As Seasoned said, especially when words are adopted from other languages, things could get messy.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    The language comes first. Spoken language is instinctual. Written language is not. There are societies that have never had a written language - but they still have spoken language. Any time two or more people are raised together without outside contact, they will develop their own spoken language. In languages with an alphabet the letters are made to stand for different phonetics in a language. Languages such as Mandarin develop symbols to stand for whole chunks of meaning.

    Linguistics is my degree field, and what I've just said is common knowledge in the field.
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    • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      The language comes first. Spoken language is instinctual. Written language is not. There are societies that have never had a written language - but they still have spoken language. Any time two or more people are raised together without outside contact, they will develop their own spoken language. In languages with an alphabet the letters are made to stand for different phonetics in a language. Languages such as Mandarin develop symbols to stand for whole chunks of meaning.

      Linguistics is my degree field, and what I've just said is common knowledge in the field.
      Absolutely! I mean who learns to write before they learn to speak, right?


      Terra
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Which came first... The egg or the omelet?
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          Which came first... The egg or the omelet?
          The omelette, as we say over here: you can't cook an egg without breaking them. I may even have that the wrong way round, actually. One thing I can tell you for sure, though: if Sal says the language comes first, then the language comes first, because this is her exact subject.

          Why did the omelette cross the road?
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          • Profile picture of the author ThomM
            Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

            The omelette, as we say over here: you can't cook an egg without breaking them. I may even have that the wrong way round, actually. One thing I can tell you for sure, though: if Sal says the language comes first, then the language comes first, because this is her exact subject.

            Why did the omelette cross the road?
            I think it's "You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs".
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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

            The omelette, as we say over here: you can't cook an egg without breaking them. I may even have that the wrong way round, actually. One thing I can tell you for sure, though: if Sal says the language comes first, then the language comes first, because this is her exact subject.

            Why did the omelette cross the road?
            It didn't cross the road. That's why it's an omelette. A sad story really. The egg had such dreams.....of working at KFC.....not knowing, it's fate was sealed....the moment the egg decided to "Play Chicken" with a car.

            The omelette was to be buried at "Easter Egg Island" where all eggs go to be buried.

            The island is run by cannibals. They had the omelette for breakfast.

            This parable was based on a true story, made up by me...just now.

            Originally Posted by lanfear63 View Post

            The fried egg actually. The first person to pick one up from under a chicken was so excited he dropped it onto a hot rock.

            Its true I tell you, no Jackass donkeying around!
            This is also based on a true story.

            Thousands of years ago, a chicken farmer..a very lonely and strange farmer...was watching a chicken sit in it's nest. He got a brilliant idea. He thought "Hey! I know! Let's see what this chicken poops out next. And whatever it is..let's eat it!"

            The cattle rancher had the same idea, but "Bob's Cattle patties" never caught on.

            I've done tremendous research on this.

            Language came first. But the first form of language was Nagging.

            "Why do the Flintstones have a nicer cave?'
            "When are we going to walk to Florida?"
            "Does this smelly dirty buffalo carcass make me look fat?"
            "Why do the Rubbles' have a dead armadillo in their cave? You never buy me anything nice?"
            "Burt hits his wife over the head with a club! We never have foreplay"
            "Burt has a bigger fire than you!"
            "You don't appreciate me! I spend all day arranging my rock, and you never notice!"
            "Burt has a bigger club than you!"

            After Nagging, came Lying;

            "Honey, I'm going out to hunt for boar now, with the guys! I'm definitely not going next door to club Burt's wife!"
            (OK, it took guys a few years to get the hang of lying)

            I think I've proved my point. My work is done here.
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          • Profile picture of the author HeySal
            Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

            The omelette, as we say over here: you can't cook an egg without breaking them. I may even have that the wrong way round, actually. One thing I can tell you for sure, though: if Sal says the language comes first, then the language comes first, because this is her exact subject.

            Why did the omelette cross the road?
            So you came back spunky, huh? LOL. Good to see you. That was my Major exact subject. Let me be clear that I learned about the evolution of language from school -- not from first hand experience from life in Pangia before the continents split like some people here in the forum. (had to get the old jokes in and ruin Claude and Dan's fun).
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        • Profile picture of the author lanfear63
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          Which came first... The egg or the omelet?
          The fried egg actually. The first person to pick one up from under a chicken was so excited he dropped it onto a hot rock.

          Its true I tell you, no Jackass donkeying around!
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        • Profile picture of the author seomaster5
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          Which came first... The egg or the omelet?
          WHICH CAME FIRST A HEN OR EGG :p
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          • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
            Originally Posted by seomaster5 View Post

            WHICH CAME FIRST A HEN OR EGG :p
            Neither.

            The rooster did.

            Males always come first.
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            • Profile picture of the author lanfear63
              Originally Posted by whateverpedia View Post

              Neither.

              The rooster did.

              Males always come first. :p
              That's why they say Cock a doodle doooooooooooo
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  • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
    Letters are just visual representations of spoken language. Letters evolved to enable people to "speak" to people who weren't within earshot.

    Am I right Sal?
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  • Profile picture of the author David Maschke
    First there was the internet, then came Johannes Gutenberg's printing press, then came the letters, then finally language emerged.

    Also, we first had the divorce lawyer, then came marriage, and finally we had human reproduction.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Here is a prime example of language first.

    Sequoyah took twelve years to develop the Cherokee syllabary
    after being impressed by European "talking pages". I guesstimate
    that he did this approximately 800 years after the language evolved
    (originated?).

    I think I read somewhere else that he saw it as a way to preserve his
    culture, and to clarify and unify meanings of words as there were several
    dialects. Also to pass down the reasons why omelettes cross the road - or not.

    Cherokee syllabary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  • Profile picture of the author candoit2
    The language comes first. Modern example is of the Hmar people who only just recently developed their own written language based on the sounds of their language to create an alphabet.
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  • Profile picture of the author awledd
    Lots of fun here

    Think we all agree the language came first but isn't it amazing how they encoded/decoded the language into alphabets and words? Man! when I think the process it blows my mind. Maybe the equivalent of DNA decoding? Exaggerated maybe
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    • Profile picture of the author lanfear63
      Originally Posted by awledd View Post

      Lots of fun here

      Think we all agree the language came first but isn't it amazing how they encoded/decoded the language into alphabets and words? Man! when I think the process it blows my mind. Maybe the equivalent of DNA decoding? Exaggerated maybe
      Actually your all wrong. what came first was pointing. When someone hit upon that idea, most people just stared at the outstretched arm and extended hairy finger rather like a donkey or trilobite would. Eventually they all realized that the ape like person was trying to draw their attention to something. Then, when they were all looking at the object in question the Pointer would utter a name like UGG. So they all agreed that a Boeing 747 was called an UGG. This was fine until the next object was named. They first tried UGG UGG but when they got to the 73rd object it was confusing, so many UGG, UGG, UGG's and on top of that they could not count and were never any good at Simon anyway. conversation was so labored.

      So stalemate, until one bright spark said (for some reason) Umgala. A new word was born. So the next object was an UMGALA. From then on it was plain sailing. New words and grunts were created to name things.

      It was not however until the invention of Proper British English that the real breakthroughs were made. As soon as they had mastered. "Fancy coming back to the cave for a spot of afternoon Tiffin Old Bean" that paved the way for modern speech. The rest is of course history as I wrote it!
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