Recent work in genetics has revealed that all non-African people are related to Neanderthals, a now-extinct species of human.

If there was interbreeding between us, how would they have communicated? Did Neanderthals have language, and what might it have been like?

UWA linguist Daniel Midgley goes back in time on this week’s Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Non-African DNA has Neanderthal sequences, so, you know, stuff was going on there.
http://www.vancouversun.com/business/technology/Neanderthals+interbred+with+early+humans/5125225/story.html
http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979676166

But sadly, we probably pushed them over the brink.
http://io9.com/5826353/there-were-just-too-many-humans-for-neanderthals-to-survive

They had a FOXP2 gene
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/10/071018-neandertal-gene.html

a Broca’s area
http://hotword.dictionary.com/neanderthals/

and like us, a lot of them were right-handers
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/73648/title/Most_Neandertals_were_right-handers

The seminal article from Philip Lieberman, who argues that their vocal tract was too short for them to talk (PDF):
http://www.haskins.yale.edu/Reprints/HL0104.pdf

but then not everyone agrees. (PDF)
http://www.summer10.isc.uqam.ca/Page/docs/readings/BOE_Louis-Jean/Boe_et_al_J_Phonetics_2002.pdf

A pretty good review (PDF):
http://www.lllf.uam.es/~clase/acceso_local/LgCapabili.pdf