11 October 2005

Did Hobbits Impact Human Languages?

My other linguistic posts today were by products of my search for a half remembered idea about the idea that Homo floresiensis (the last pre-human hominid species called hobbits in the popular press, and the subject of recent discoveries reported publicly today) could have impacted the development of the human languages on the island of Flores (which is critically appraised here).

The theory basically goes that the linguistic characteristics of the language (basically its lack of complexity) are those associated with a language with lots of adult learners or a creole, unlikely the closely related languages which are very complex. This doesn't make sense in the abstract, but they could be a product of human interaction with Homo floresiensis, who were present on the island just a few hundred years ago according to local lore, when the Dutch arrived.

We may never know, but it is a very interesting theory.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

That subject is absolutely fascinating for so many reasons. Thanks for all the links, I'm working my way through them now.

I realize it is incredibly unlikely, but I have a hope that a few of those little people are still alive and we'll find them.