Archive for the ‘Origins of language’ Category

A Neanderthal breakthrough

February 18, 2023

A great moment in fictive human history, captured in a 5/2/21 Rhymes With Orange cartoon:

(#1) Caveman quiz great inventor cavewoman, she make definite article

Well, yes, Hilary Price has her doing it in English, a specific language, which has to stand in for Human Language, because we have no way of representing text in Human Language.  And Price has her doing it in English orthography (rather than speech), because this is a cartoon (not an address) and the presentation has to be visual. And, stunningly, Price has her doing it as a sculpture, a piece of 3-dimensional artwork, rather than by making marks on some surface — possibly because women are the creators of beautiful useful things, aesthetically satisfying everyday objects. (Beyond that, Price has her cavewoman  explicitly viewing her work as potentially world-changing — an ambition usually associated, these days anyway, with males.)


Now what?

February 13, 2021

In the 2/15&22/21 issue of the New Yorker, this cartoon by Kaamran Hafeez and Al Batt:


“Now that we can talk, we have to have meetings.”

In the larger domain of Emergence of Language cartoons, this is a subspecialty — on the Now What?  theme:

We’re learned to speak / talk / write. We’ve invented language. Now what?


He’s got the moves

May 2, 2018

Today’s Daily Jocks ad, for their Underwear Club, with a caption of my own devising:

(#1) Unkind critics

Assailed his claim that the
Dutch of Brabant is the
Original language the
Garden of Eden’s tongue but he
Smoothly fended them off he
Knows all the moves