On the Origins of Speaking

The Discovery of Stone Age Language or Ishkama Ishkara Pheikara




Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 10/3/2008

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 634
ISBN : 9781412076975
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 636
ISBN : 9781412200820

About the Book

On the Origins of Speaking is a radical revision of conventional etymology, claiming to restore semantics to the chief role in etymology and language research, in place of the easier empirical phonology currently espoused, partly aimed at the Chomskyan grammatical speculation which substitutes a mathematical formalism for semantics. It has little do do with Ur-language research, Nostratics or other word traces based on phonology alone, which soon get lost. It picks up where Charles Darwin left off, arguing language and thinking are not subject to evolution by random genetic variation and subsequent natural selection of the fittest, which is confined to the organic kingdom and does not apply to either the geological kingdom on the one hand nor to the intellectual kingdom on the other. In reality our genes determine our legs but not the walks we may take, and similarly our genes determine our brains but not the thoughts we may think. Language and thinking are restored to a more liberal arena.

The book is highly controversial. If it were fiction it would outsell The Da Vinci Code. It is written in a popular style and is readily understandable by anyone of any nationality with sufficient general education to make his or her way in the modern world. The only jargon is explained as the ideas are developed, for instance "Lithic", the Stone Age language roots the author claims to have discovered concealed like flies in amber in the lexicon of language today, and "psychosemantic trees" showing the descent of meanings from the original Stone Age elements of speaking, traced backwards in a manner similar to triangulation in survey. Hominids spoke, six hundred thousands years ago; and had tamed fire by then and had hearths at the mouths of their caves long before ash traces have been found. Meanings were originally attributed to single phonemes (roughly letters) as our bare bottomed forebears learned to pronounce them. Words were compiled as strings of them. Freud's psychological output can now be seen to be fanciful. But the sexual patterning of our earliest perceptions can still be traced underlying the wording of languages around the world today, probably all of them.


About the Author

The author, now of an age (over 80) when concerns over neither career prospects nor even the judgement of his peers any longer carry any weight, has tried to include within the covers of a single book the results of over forty years of linguistic studies, after conventional education in three universities and a largely mis-spent life pursuing conventional intellectual will-o-the-whisps of historical, political, military, business and philosophical nature, including symbolic logic. The author's great grandfather (1804 - 1870), the fifth peer, collaborated with Sir Charles Lyell, a fellow London barrister, who used the great grandfather's shell collection (which occupied the full length of the top floor of Merton Hall) to establish the sequencing of the sedimentary strata by means of the collections of microscopic shells (microfauna)v included within the rocks. It was a wild guess based on the anti-entropic nissus of life forms (that spark of a kind of divinity neo-Darwinists choose to overlook) to presume the more complex shapes of shells followed the less complex. But it worked. Lyell's epoch making book "The Principles of Geology" was published in three volumes between 1830 and 1833. Darwin took it with him on HMS Beagle's world cruise from 1833 to 1838 which established him as a natural historian. Lyell's book had already established the evolution of the molusca, but this detail was suppressed because of the objections of the Victorian church. Reference to the Merton Stone, the largest glacial erratic found in the UK, previously unknown, also features as evidence of the shaping of the land by glaciation. It was dug up by the author's family in the seventeenth century when digging for marl (clay) which was used in the following century to consolidate the soil and establish the Norfolk four course rotation by Cooke and Townshend, in turn providing the population explosion helping to trigger the industrial revolution. The present work attempts to set the record straight by confining the Darwinian uniformitarian scheme to its proper domain and returning linguistic and intellectual history to a more liberal arena.