Re: Language (was RE: More Green Party)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Jun 29 2000 - 10:24:07 MDT

Considering that language is a complex functional adaptation - i.e., an
adaptation composed of multiple mutations - it is unlikely that language
went from 0 to 60 in one generation. (Although it's possible, I
suppose, that the original Language Mutation was a single mutation that
was later replaced by a more efficient complex adaptation.)

One of the hypotheses I find interesting is that spoken language evolved
out of a gestural language - what we would call sign language. Gestural
languages can be directly, visually representative in a way that speech
cannot, so it provides a transition method whereby entities who don't
possess any mutations can still learn a language by association; once
the language has been established, adaptations will begin to accumulate
into it. The process, perhaps, is similar to that by which writing
languages began as directly representative pictograms and ended as
phonetic alphabets.

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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