LINGUIST List 11.1167

Mon May 22 2000

Qs: Neutralisation, Origin of Language

Editor for this issue: James Yuells <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. ruthanna, Neutralisation
  2. Daniel Rafferty, Origin of Language

Message 1: Neutralisation

Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 15:09:45 +0100
From: ruthanna <>
Subject: Neutralisation

I recently read something about 'neutralisation', I believe within the
area of grammaticalization. I can no longer remember where it was, or
even what exactly it
I would welcome any information on the process of 'neutralisation' -
what it refers to (in grammaticalization - not phonology) -- and
especially if this term has ever been used in order to describe the
phenomenon of the overuse of masculine (singular) in gender classifed
If there is interest, I will of course post a summary.
Ruthanna Barnett
Lancaster University
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Origin of Language

Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 18:36:50 GMT
From: Daniel Rafferty <>
Subject: Origin of Language

We still don't know if speech evolved onomatopoeically or not, but are there 
any reliable estimates of when we commenced speaking, i.e. using vocal 
utterances to convey progressively more nuanced meaning? I've read anywhere 
from 100,000 BCE to 15,000 BCE. Any web references on the evolution of 
language, that treat the matter as impartially as possible would be welcome.

Dan Rafferty
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue