Salı, Mayıs 23, 2006

History and Usage of the Language

Felsefe dersim için 2006 da hazırladığım bir ödev, buyrunuz.

Since the first appearance of human being on earth, a lot of communication techniques have been invented. Scientists thought that first techniques were making noises and using body signs. Thousands years later people improved speaking skills, it was a big step for social life of humanity. Easier communication helped people to understand each other correctly. Simple prototypes of common culture generated. As the speaking ability improved and transformed into language, telling ways of the events and thoughts were shaped. Then, history of humanity had one of its children, named; History of human social life, from this moment we can replace the humanity word with people, to make clear the difference between just biological carbons based organisms and biological carbon based organisms which have mental ability of thinking.

History of Humanity

Scientists achieved to trace our direct ancestry back about 2.5 million years ago which named Homo habilis (Handy Man) and placed in Africa. It is not clear to trace back from that time through the fossil results. Nearly 1 million years ago the first great diaspora of humanity began, scientists called them as Homo erectus (Upright Man, descendant of Homo habilis). They spread out from Africa through the Middle East and throughout the Old World until nearly China and beyond (Peking Man - 500,000 years ago).( 6 Billion™ - The Game Of The New Millennium).

Continent of Europe was also habitable and occupied by these proto-humans around 850,000 years ago. Due to dispersion of the fossils, nearly 500,000 years ago these populations had changed sufficiently to be re-classified as Homo sapiens (Wise Man). Around 130,000 years ago, with Northern Europe in the grip of the Great Ice-Age, Homo sapiens’ representative there was the anatomically distinct Neanderthal Man. They lived from Spain in the West to the shores of the Black Sea in the East. In Sub-Saharan Africa, around the same time, Homo sapiens sapiens (that’s us!) had displaced all other hominids in that region (Maybe this event explains that why we are killing each other). In South East Asia, a distinct third modern human species may have arisen in the Middle East, about 100,000 years ago, the dramatic reunion of two of these branches of humanity began as our direct ancestors discovered Neanderthals already living there! The second great diaspora had begun, this time by Homo sapiens sapiens, coming out of Africa just as Homo sapiens had done before them. The genetic and fossil record confirms that Neanderthals and Homo sapiens sapiens were, in fact, separate species descended from a common ancestor, Homo erectus. Any breeding between the two would, at best, have resulted in sterile off-spring .(McClellan III, Dorn, ”Science and the Technology in the World History”). During this time our ancestors were fighting against the nature to gather food, a very small culture was invented, so it is negligible.

Up to 60,000 years ago Northern Europe, Siberia, the Americas, Polynesia and Australia were totally inhabited and unoccupied by humanity. Armed with the strategically flexible lifestyle of the hunter gatherer, Modern Man (Homo sapiens sapiens) spread across the globe. They learned to live everywhere, adapting relatively easily to changing conditions. Settlement of Australia by Aboriginals which they are still there, is variously dated between 50 - 60,000 years ago. Wave after wave of settlers washed upon Australia’s Northern shores from South East Asia, helped by the land-bridges created by lowered sea-levels due to the Ice Age in the distant North.(Hewes,n.d.).

Europe was settled by Cro-Magnon Man (European Homo sapiens sapiens) around 40,000 years ago. Siberia was settled perhaps 20,000 years ago. In the Americas early human fossils dating back 30,000 years have been found as far South as Brazil and scientific works of the fossils claimed that Homo sapiens sapiens came there form Australia . However, actions of the humanity in America appeared so late then other continents. It seems that the Mini Ice Age may have assisted human migration across the Bering Straight around 12,000 years ago resulting in the complete settling of the Americas by 11,000 years ago. The smaller islands of Polynesia such as Fiji (3,600 years ago), Hawaii (1,500 years ago) and New Zealand (only 1,000 years ago) were the last the be colonised and settled by our hunter gatherer ancestors.

It appears that we may have co-existed with Neanderthals for up to tens of thousands of years in the Middle East, and then Neanderthals became extinct. With the appearance of European Homo sapiens sapiens in Europe 40,000 years ago, the co-existence there (perhaps a combined total of only 12,000 individuals) lasted up to 10,000 thousand years.

Neanderthals appear to have been creatures of habit. They rarely ranged far from their home bases, and did not adopt the flexible hunter gatherer lifestyle of our ancestors, making their increasingly isolated communities more and more vulnerable. Whilst Neanderthals were undoubtedly sophisticated and fully human, their tools were more primitive than Cro Magnon, changing slowly over longer periods of time. Also, Neanderthals rarely lived beyond 40, Cro Magnons sometimes lived to 60 before Death claimed them. Almost certainly, War, Famine and Pestilence also took their turns with Death in exterminating Neanderthals. Scientists believe that war would not have been the organised war of today, but it is also obvious to believe that Cro Magnon and Neanderthals lived in perfect harmony. More likely it was a slow war of attrition with individual victims on either side, with the faster breeding and ultimately more numerous Cro Magnon (so us) eventually prevailed .

Homo sapiens spread throughout the Old World and survived for close to a million years. Homo sapiens sapiens spread from Africa only 100,000 years ago. By 35,000 years ago Homo sapiens was gone and Homo sapiens sapiens was on the way to colonising the entire globe. Rapid population growth began with 10 million hunter gatherers at the dawn of the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago. Prior to that moment our doubling rate was estimated at 4,000 years. (Hewes n.d.)

History of Human Culture

Communications which are interestingly symbolic involve a partial detachment from the referent: one criterion of a proto-linguistic mentality is how good it is at lying. Our near relatives, the chimpanzees and bonobos, have male-bonded societies in which females migrate between troops, and individuals leave and rejoin the group. This means an individual potentially has private information it could share or withhold. Vocalizations of monkeys, and probably apes, contain semantic detail about social relations as well as external threats. Chimpanzees give food-calls in the wild which attract others; in captivity they can lead others to hidden food, and convey its quality. Apes, and occasionally monkeys, deliberately deceive others, concealing both food and sex, and even facial expressions or erections. Apes (but not monkeys) recognize themselves, removing marks from their faces in mirrors, and can take others' roles in shared experiments. The capacities to give or withhold information and to be aware of others' intentions may be pre-requisites for the capacity to manipulate signs detached from the immediate: in other words, to have an idea. Having a consciousness of living and being as a individual person, is the first step of creation of communication and thinking. For this reasons our proto-relatives made their choices to share the knowledge and experience or keeping them secret to only involve it for himself. Probably there were times that events forced to share one person’s own knowledge and experiences with the others. As this progress repeated itself, a lot of relations have been appeared, and those relations were the small bricks of human social society. 'Society' and 'culture' are among the most contentious concepts of the human sciences. Sometimes treated as virtually synonymous, sometimes radically distinguished, their study has been maintained as the particular preserve of social and cultural anthropology, at the same time as it has been opened up by biologists to embrace almost the entire field of animal behavior.

The Humans can communicate with each other by using their body. We can separate body communication techniques in two; Static body presence, dynamic action of the body.Both of them are emotional and based on some physiological and physical reactions. As a result of this, reactions are different from culture to culture. They also developed to represent social roles and power in society. Simple-mobile societies, like tribes use tattooing and clothing for showing “individualism” (which is also marking of status). Sub category of the human being; sex is also effective to give shape to language. Female forms of speech tend to be more conservative than male forms, and for high class of society “prestigious” styles of speaking have been appeared. Status, or social power, is widely marked by particular speech-forms in socially stratified societies. Relations between language and society structure is not so simple, as the ages passes they effected each other more and more and relation became more complex. Sometimes they split into different categories and most of these categories evolved in their way, they nearly forgot their roots. Social structure in the Hunter-Gatherer societies was simple, on the other hand agricultural societies are more complex, because of their settled life allow them to produce large amount of products. Also their members were specialized different categories. As a result of this, people were obliged to live each other. These specifications also changed the language, different class of the society created different and complex language more then others. Also the economic benefit of some classes created a high social class. Relation of high and low classes forced the change the daily life speeches and sometimes created a pure grammar. The precise origin of infants' social powers is the subject of conflicting views. However, there is general agreement that infants are attracted to the physical and behavioural characteristics of people, and that such capacities are likely to be the product of evolutionary processes. In these terms infants appear to have a basic social disposition which is part of our evolutionary heritage. However, this social disposition does not appear to extend to the way that infants are able to contribute to the structure of social activities in which they engage. As illustrated by studies of gaze and vocalization, infants are not full partners in the interactive process; rather interaction is structured by Western adults to appear as a co-ordinated interpersonal process.

'Language' has been defined in three ways: by listing its 'design features'; its structural properties, particularly its 'rule-governed creativity'; and its uses or functions.

In terms of design features, spoken and signed languages differ trivially in terms of the latter's not using the vocal-auditory channel; but have been claimed to differ more significantly in the extent to which spoken language is composed of arbitrary signs, while sign languages are based on more iconic signs. This has led to an erroneous demotion of the status of sign languages. A more careful analysis shows that both types of language are comparable on this dimension in their contemporary forms, although there is some evidence that languages of both media have become more arbitrary over time. Similarly, structural analyses of both systems reveal they show a similar degree of 'duality of patterning', both below the structure of the word or sign, and above it at the level of grammar. Some researchers supported that language is based on a gestural origin during eighteenth century. In addition to this they said our close relatives great apes might have a language capacity. The modern argument for gestural primacy in language origins draws on several lines of evidence, including the following. Sound is of questionable suitability as the original basis for language, given the greater creative capacity and open-endedness of higher primate manual and digital operations. Regular tool-using in hominids probably evolved before vocal language, and the human brain's left-lateralization for speech could have been tacked on to a previous specialization for predominantly right-handed gestural language and precise sequences of manual manipulations. In relatively simple contexts gestural communication has the distinct advantage of greater transparency and ease of communication. Writing originated separately in Mesopotamia and Egypt, China, pre-Columbian America, and, possibly, the Indus Valley. The earliest evidence of writing is cuneiform script from Mesopotamia at c.3500 BC. Six earlier classes of visual representation contributed to the development of writing-systems: the expressive and ritualistic markings found in cave art; tallying devices; property markings and totems; tokens; mnemonic devices; and pictographic/ideographic narrative forms. Early writing-systems were used for political and economic, religious, and historical-literary functions. There is no single order of functional development that applies to all cultures. (Sid Meier's Civilization 4, Civilopedia).

Writing-systems are classified into three types: logographic systems, which represent morphemes; syllabic systems, which represent syllables; and alphabetic systems, which represent units more closely related to phonemes than to syllables. Writing-systems tend to develop from the logographic to the syllabic, though this is not always the case. As syllabic systems interact with the structure of the spoken language they are trying to capture they adapt themselves through a variety of devices. This historical elaboration is not well served by considering it to be an evolutionary sequence, as has often been claimed.

The ancestors of modern alphabets were the iconographic and ideographic symbols developed by ancient man, such as cuneiform and hieroglyphics. The first known alphabet, a combination of a number of early pictographic symbols known as North Semitic, was developed between 1700 and 1500 BC. Four other alphabets - South Semitic, Canaanite, Aramaic, and Greek - had evolved from the North Semitic alphabet by 1000 BC. The Roman alphabet, used by all the languages of Western Europe including English, was derived from the Greek alphabet sometime after 500 BC. The Roman alphabet became one of the most widespread due to the extensive use of the Latin language during the reign of the Roman Empire. The development of alphabets was significant in the development of advanced civilizations because it allowed history and ideas to be written down, rather than memorized and passed along orally.

Language is an analogical system for classification on multiple levels. Language systems build upon semantic analogies and analogies in phonological, morphological, and syntactic distributions (positional analogies). New meanings are created through the process of metaphorical extension. The direction of language change is determined in large part by this process and by analogical systematization - hierarchical congruence of classes.

Usage of Today's Language

People are eager to learn different languages of different contries and cultures. There are severals of reasons of this action but we can observe them in a few main-stream ideas. First of all we had lots of scientific and technological improvements which brought people together. In the history period humanity had modernism which claimed both scientific and philosopical backround. As Karl Marx said; all that is solid melts into air. These new type of social structure and world technology revealed the new relations which include commercial and educational. As the lots of people gathered from different cultures many communication and most of all language problems appeared. Problems are not only occurred between normal social life. Also philosophical arguments and new ideas appeared.

Philosophical doctrine called ordinary language philosophy connects weak relationships between main-stream philosophical problems.They are generally associated with the works of J. L. Austin, Gilbert Ryle and with the later work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Ordinary language had a less positive value and seemed as unimportant by the early analytic philosophical view. Bernard Russell didn’t paid much attention to language as a philosophical experience, for him it is useless to solve metaphysical problems by using unclear usage of ordinary language.

Some philosophers and philosophy groups like Vienna Circle , Wittgenstein and Frege tried to improve this idea on their works. They all used the methods of Aristotle logic and modern logic. Russell’s works and Wittgenstein’ Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus are nearly effected and completed each other. Basic idea was recreate the meaning of words, language and formulating the new type of language of representing world itself and explaining philosophy.

If we want to look for a general idea of the philosophers for languange;

Mind - World. Philosophers who made works about mind, made some relation with the mind and world. Perception, action, the mind’s bodily constitution are the some relations which they made.

Mind Language. Language is nothing without understanding the things which it represent. Mental actions has the ability of internalize the meaning of language.

Language Mind. Internalizing the language by mind works dialectic ways. Mind tries to understand the meaning of language. At this progress mind is also shaped by the language. Type of the language makes it own unique methods of understanding.

Language - World. As the language is the basic tool for understanding the meaning and desciription for reailty, how do we know that the language, which is created by some enviromental and mostly mental actions of the humanity, could be the key for the mind, which shaped by the language. This is the philosopher’s main discussion source, which will never be exhausted. (CRIMMINS, MARK,1998)

Wrong Usage of Language

My main problem with this issue is that how the wrong and misunderstood meaning of the objects could do and obviously meaningless statements. Two following philosopical trend can not agree with each other even pure mathematical problems. Modernism and Post-Modernism, relations between them and the most problematic issues that created big crises between them. The main diffrenece between these intellectual trend is the meaning of reality. This argument mostly appeares in science. For a closer look we need to take a short brief about them.

For a very superficial observation, modernism in science started when new scientific revolutions appeared in 16th century. From the decadence of ancient Greeks and christianization of the Rome Empire to 16th century, most of the natural events perceived as the act of God. Things fell like as God choice, angels were holding the flat-earth, celestial objects, heavenly bodies were moving in ether as Aristoteles understood before just like in the Bible. Of course God placed his creations on the center on the universe, which there is a heaven beyond it. Humanity woke up its most wonderful dream of narsism by a splash of cold scientific-method water. Scientists like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton revealed the fog of scholastic thought. From that time till now scientific method were created for observing and understanding the nature. We know that earth is not placed on the center of the universe, and all the object were moving by the law of gravitational forces etc. It seems that God has less jobs then before! He must be very greatful for these scientists. These scientific revolution effectted nearly all society, scholastic thought lost its domination over the mind. New Society’s elements changed, empirical scientific thought replaced the old thoughts. As the thoughts changed, new philosophical ideas appeared. Two of the most disruptive thinkers of the later period were, in biology, Charles Darwin and, in political science, Karl Marx. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection undermined religious certainty of the general public, and the sense of human uniqueness of the intelligentsia (this is an another cold splash against the uniqunes of the humanity). The notion that human beings were driven by the same impulses as "lower animals" proved to be difficult to reconcile with the idea of an ennobling spirituality. Karl Marx seemed to present a political version of the same problem: that problems with the economic order were not transient, the result of specific wrong doers or temporary conditions, but were fundamentally contradictions within the "capitalist" system. Both thinkers would spawn defenders and schools of thought that would become decisive in establishing modernism.

For some philosophers, post modernism in science appeared against the hard-nature based scientific side of modernism. In this intellectual view reality is totally different from one to another. Scientific method of modernism can not be the universal way in this relative nature and its laws. Today many intellectuals seemed to be the fan of this school. Many books were written about making analogies with nearly everything. Unfortunately natural science had its own place in them. Most of post modernist intellectuals explain their thoughts absolutely wrong ways and misunderstood subjects, due to describing wrong and subjective meaning of the words. Scientists were distressed by these intellectual trends because of its nonsense popularity.

In the year 1996 a physicist named Alan Sokal published an article; Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity, is full of wrong usage of words and meanings about scientific facts. Article was published on Social Text. Later that Alan Sokal said that it was a hoax to show postmodern intellectuals’ abuse of using science. This event shocked the postmodern intellectuals very badly and created many post issues about that hoax. As an example of this issue we must take a closer look a quotation from a post modernist article.

"The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed the inability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, she attributes to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids. ... These idealizations are reinscribed in mathematics, which conceives of fluids as laminated planes and other modified solid forms. In the same way that women are erased within masculinist theories and language, existing only as not-men, so fluids have been erased from science, existing only as not-solids." (Irigaray, Hayles, 1992)

For a simplier meaning of this idea; solids are like males, fluids are like females. An absurd analogy which came from misunderstanding the facts and rules of science. Sex in species is a subject of biology, fluid and solid mechanic is a subject of physics. Any analogy between them represents an impossible work. In the usage of language, which created by the human mind, some similarities between them may be appeared. Nearly all of the societies were male dominant, even today this hasn’t changed. Due to the effects of the social structure to language, many words were created in this way. But nature laws are not affected by language. They have always been even before the humanity. Words, which we use for picturing the events, facts and objects, were created by us. They do not have ability to defining nature perfectly because we do not know or understand the nature laws all the time. As we described above, people tries to explain the reality by using the information of observation. From the scientist’s experience, we know that, different informations of the observations could create its relations between one reality. As scientific researches increased in number and quality, some of these hypotheses will be canceled or recreated. This progress will probably go to find a uniqe theorem which represents the relations of reality better. In the article, sexual specialities of both women and men meantioned to support these analogy. Penis protrudes and becomes rigid while vaginas leak fluids. This analogy is worse then before. Explanination methods of this series of analogy could go every where in every direction. If I interested in some dualist philosophy, i would say that humans have bones and blood, therefore both female and male contains each other with in their bodies. Furthermore, males could get blood cancer disease more then females and females could get bone disease more then males. If the real results of these diseases’ statistics do not match with my theory, I would blame the effects of brutal modernist world for mixing and changing the origins of sex. Later sentences blame the mathematic itself for being male dominant. We can clearly see that as the analogy goes deeper, more it is getting away from rational sense. Mathemathic is an abstraction. It is a pure mental event which does not have direct relations with the real world. It is a key to simplify the nature events for easier understanding. How we can blame the triangles for being male dominant? As the result of this article; Male dominant mathemathic and nature sciences can not create a model which represents female fluid mechanics. It is so clear that writer of this article does not know mathematic, physics and even biology.

The main problem is the lack of using language. Wrong methods of understanding facts and related words do a lot of different and useless results. One of them we discussed above. Post modernism is an acceptable way of creating novels, poetry and art. But when the progress comes to discuss about nature science, it is useless. We can not explain the reality with a subjective look and similar but nonsense usage of words. To overcome this problem people must have their education pure scientific way. But it will be a temporary solution; it does not criticize the roots of the problem. For a theorical solution, I suggest that meaning of the words of the language must be as pure as it possible. One word must picture only one thing. Since I am not a filologist I couldn’t improve a language structure for it. Also I have to make my own self-critisism; this type of language will be static, to avoid this problem there must be a hard working central state organization to create new words, and we found ourselves in politics. This type of political system will evolve a dictatorship and gain much more power we predicted. Power brings corruption, the system that created for overcome the static language will stop the improvement progresses of any kind, maybe there won’t be a language at all. After this dark futuristic ütopia let’s search for a less totalitarian language type. Reducing the emotional concepts of the adjectives. When we are talking about an object, we make our sentences with our subjective toughts. We say beautiful women, perfect movie and outstanding book. These adjectives represent our additional toughts about something with using a level structure. But these levels quality differs from person to person. Two people could say perfect for a thing, but we can not understand the meaning usage of perfect word according to this people. For a succesful common usage; we must use pure objective, mental meanings for words. Mathematical abstraction could be useful for it. Usage of the words like; good, plus good, double plus good. But George Orwell lived and wrote 1984 before me, in theory it could work but not all of language activities, there will be no myths, fable, and poetry like today. Most of the people won’t accept that. This 1984 theory would be useful for nature science articles, nothing more. I think there is no permanent solution, because language is not permanent and static. People must use their freewill and self control for their usage of words, like Buddha saying;

Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.


(Several Articles) from

Language, philosophy of. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Retrieved May 11, 2006, from

Hayles, N. K. (1992) Gender encoding in fluid mechanics: masculine channels and feminine flows. Differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies. 4 (2), 16 - 44.

Sokal, A. D. (1996a) Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity. Social Text 46/47, 217 - 252.

McClellan III, Dorn, (1999) Science and the Technology in the World History.

Sid Meier's Civilization 4, Civilopedia, Alphabet Section.

1 yorum:

Adsız dedi ki...

Hello. And Bye.