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Computers Emulate Neanderthal Speech 220

Clarence writes "After some 30,000 years of silence, the Neanderthal race is once again speaking thanks to some advanced computer simulation. A Florida Atlantic University professor is using software vocal tract reconstructions to emulate the speech of our long-dead distant relatives. 'He says the ancient human's speech lacked the "quantal vowel" sounds that underlie modern speech. Quantal vowels provide cues that help speakers with different size vocal tracts understand one another, says Robert McCarthy, who was talking at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Columbus, Ohio, on April 11. In the 1970s, linguist Phil Lieberman, of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, inferred the dimensions of the larynx of a Neanderthal based on its skull. His team concluded that Neanderthal speech did not have the subtlety of modern human speech.'"
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Computers Emulate Neanderthal Speech

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @06:58PM (#23097116)
    Legitimate linguists make no claims whatever about 35,000-year-old languages. The rate of language change is such that no one can possibly know anything about a language at such a time depth. There's no reason at all to expect any connection between proto-Indo-European and something we imagine might have been spoken by Neanderthals. Yes, your notion is unrealistic--exceedingly so.
  • Re:Andre the Giant (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @07:36PM (#23097642)
    Insensitive Clod.

    I mean, I know /. is sort of a rolling asshat conference, but you'd think someone would at least bother to check Wikipedia.

    Andre had pituitary gigantism. His "phenotype" was not related to his ancestry, but rather to the crippling growth hormone disorder that caused acromegaly, along with the heart problems that would kill him eventually.
  • Re:Just great (Score:3, Informative)

    by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:05PM (#23097986) Journal
    Well acording to the TFA, I think it would sound more like: "Mmm gut suggfutt Mmm dup cor" even that might be a bit vowl lead sylable happy for our simple spoken ancestors.

Air is water with holes in it.