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#1
Hey everyone, in English class we're working on word origins and what not, and the question was raised today as to what the first word spoken by pre-historic man was (i,e, the first word most modern people say is "mama" or "papa"). My geuss is it was probably the same as it is now, some word meaning mother or father, but I wanted to get UG's opinon on it and see what you all thought.
Last edited by rock_and_blues at Nov 9, 2007,
#3
Bewbs.
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#5
Bah.


Its simple and it is a word.

Else

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#6
Reticulation was my first word.
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#7
probably sex because thats all anyone thinks about now and in the beginning of time, then after that food
#8
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#9
First words?

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#10
I would doubt that the first word would have been "mama" or any derivative of it. You are assuming that first words spoken were by a newborn, when in fact logic would point to the first words being spoken by an adult, probably a group. Besides, "ma" may be easy to say, but at first it would have had no meaning - so there would be no point in saying it.

Newborns are flooded with mama's and papa's from the moment they are born. It is only logical to expect their first words to be the ones they heard most often. However, since the first human to speak would not have been predisposed to any other language, the words would be derived from their surrounding environment. My guess would be that the first word would have to do with describing pain or discomfort, or perhaps an imitation of a sound they would have heard often in nature.
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Last edited by sthall at Nov 9, 2007,
#11
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well, ma is the easiest sound to come out of the human mouth, which is why babies tend to say mama before papa.

So I guess "mama" and the word mother progressed from there.

I don't think cave men spoke English
#12
Quote by sthall

My guess would be that the first word would have to do with describing pain or discomfort, or perhaps an imitation of a sound they would have heard often in nature.

That or a warning 'word' used in the presence of a common predator.
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#14
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That or a warning 'word' used in the presence of a common predator.


Yes, excellent point. Many wild animals use sounds as defense mechanisms, it would be logical for humans to have started the same way.
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#15
its doubtful it happened at once would start with sounds and eventually certain sounds would be associated with something (like a warning for danger)
#16
They wouldn't have been using proper words around that time, they would have just used basic sounds as a form of communication, and as such would not have had any grammatical structure and wouldn't have been counted as a word.
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#17
i don't think it would be mama because the word mother didn't come about for a few eons. I'm gonna say it was some word for food. Maybe grumble because that's what your stomach does when you have to track your food across a frozen tundra before you kill it and eat it.
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#18
My first words was 'shoes', yeah, go figure.

Anyway, I guess mama is a pretty easy word to say so that could be possible.
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#19
'Mama' isn't as easy to say as 'ma', or 'ah', or pretty much any vowel sound for that matter so why would it be the obvious first word, or even that close to it?
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#21
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You know you can say "ma" twice in succession?


Why though, what's the point? If you're going to make the first word you have every possible kind of sound at your disposal (yeah, I know they wouldn't have thought of it like that). You wouldn't logically say 'mama' before 'ma' would you? It's kind of like learning to run before learning to walk.

Edit: Plus the fact 'ah' is just 'ma' without using your lips. Therefore it's a lot easier to do and you wouldn't even have to think about the way you shape your mouth. It's literally just blowing air through your vocal cords with an open mouth.

Think about chimps etc. they're renowned for going 'ooh ooh aah aah' not 'mama'.
No they aren't humans and we probably shouldn't use them as the example ALL the time but it still is logical that we may have begun the same way.
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Last edited by mattyp90 at Nov 9, 2007,
#22
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Why though, what's the point? If you're going to make the first word you have every possible kind of sound at your disposal (yeah, I know they wouldn't have thought of it like that). You wouldn't logically say 'mama' before 'ma' would you? It's kind of like learning to run before learning to walk.


Babies love using repitition. They smile a lot, because it gets attention. Ma is just a sound, but we all know how much adults get all smushy about it. So baby says it twice, looking for more attention.
#23
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#24
They'd of started with simple things like, food, themselves, even their weapons, and not even a language, but specific sounds to mean them.
#25
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Babies love using repitition. They smile a lot, because it gets attention. Ma is just a sound, but we all know how much adults get all smushy about it. So baby says it twice, looking for more attention.

But why would they get all mushy about it when it didn't even necessarily mean anything in their time?
#28
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But why would they get all mushy about it when it didn't even necessarily mean anything in their time?



Where did you think up such an awesome user name??
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#30
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But why would they get all mushy about it when it didn't even necessarily mean anything in their time?


They wouldnt of said 'mama' with it having the reaction it does today, because it most likely didnt mean anything. They wouldnt of had a language like we do today either, it would of been on a necessary basis, but gradually growing more and more complex. You have to define where language itself starts before thinking of first words, because dogs bark, birds whistle and caw, etc.
#31
First words spoken by early man eh?

hmmm....

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#32
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#33
i dont think any noise a "caveman" were to make would even resemble a language...

it was probably ugga bugga goo..

meaning: Shit! saber tooth!
Last edited by hippie_cune at Nov 9, 2007,
#35
The front entrance seems more logical to me.
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#37
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I would doubt that the first word would have been "mama" or any derivative of it. You are assuming that first words spoken were by a newborn, when in fact logic would point to the first words being spoken by an adult, probably a group. Besides, "ma" may be easy to say, but at first it would have had no meaning - so there would be no point in saying it.

Newborns are flooded with mama's and papa's from the moment they are born. It is only logical to expect their first words to be the ones they heard most often. However, since the first human to speak would not have been predisposed to any other language, the words would be derived from their surrounding environment. My guess would be that the first word would have to do with describing pain or discomfort, or perhaps an imitation of a sound they would have heard often in nature.


you are incorrect. The development of your brain only allows you to learn some form of speech when you are very young. So my guess is that it did start out with just grunts and not real words, then eventually forming into languages over thousands upon thousands of years.
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#40
They sung for the longest time ....Dont you guys watch family guy jeez!
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