[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Vol 96, Issue 22

Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. nir at ccet.ufrn.br
Mon Dec 20 16:08:43 EST 2010


>I wonder if the pharyngeal fricatives are not relics, or living "fossils"
>of the back clicks from the earliest proto-languages of early humans in
>Africa and that survive in the click languages of the !Kung or San and
>Xhosa and Hadzabe.  

i find it interesting. but i suspect that you are making a wild conjecture
here, rather than cite a fact, when you say that M40 years ago the click sound
indeed existed. i do not know of any proceeding, including fossil analysis
(and what else is there?), capable of deciding such a statement. 

also, a phonetic process is not necessarily one-way: an element may pop up,
disappear and appear again, since accent is, at least to some extent, 
culture-related.  

> There is no living language with click sounds that does not have regular
sounds at the same time, so it's highly improbable that these sounds are archaic.

i do not see the logic in this statement. let me bring an analogy which takes
this ad absurdum. the number 1 is not the only number in any counting system,
but you cannot argue it is not the oldest number. as systems evolve, they lose
some ancient features and/or acquire new ones.

> Click sounds look more like a peculiar evolved way of pronouncing regular
sounds.

again, the problem is how this can be tested. 

nir cohen



More information about the b-hebrew mailing list