eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2021): 0.467
PDF | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2011.3.04

Fee-Alexandra Haase

After an introduction of the state and method of research regarding speech we will focus on the question “Where does speech come from?” from a comparative historical linguistic perspective. Here we will look at the origins of speech in the Indo-European languages and the origins of speech in the other language families. Our guiding question for the review of our material is the question “Is speech a genuine concept or not?” and this approach actually determines our methodological approach of the analysis of speech, considering ‘speech’ as a concept and trying to find out if the concept is genuine or if it can be traced back to other concepts. In the latter case, we must assume that speech is not genuine and the etymological background would tell us something about the history of speech. In case there are no etymological roots, we must assume that speech is genuine. What we know about speech derived from our observations from material taken from different roots of language families. We argue that language as speech, the first and communicative form of language, developed from a permanent replacement of one ele­ment of speech in one language by another element of speech in another language. The historical process of the development of speech is thus a process that can be reconstructed in the comparative studies of different languages. We assume that the dominance of meanings in a language is not only a linguistic feature, but results from the social and cultural developments of the area of languages in speeches. The concept of speech is universal, but its linguistic history of meanings indicates that changes in the genuine understanding of speech occur.


“Concept”. In Oxford dictionary (2010). Oxford Dictionaries. January 23, 2011. <http://www.>.

“Concept”. In The free dictionary. Based on Word Net 3.0, Farlex. Princeton University, Farlex Inc. The Free Dictionary. January 23, 2011. <>.

Campbell, John (1995) Past, space, and self: representation and mind. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Holden, Constance (2004). “The origin of speech”. Science 27, February, 303, 5662, 1316–1319. DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5662.1316

John 1:1. Greek New Testament. Tischendorf (8th ed. with diacritics). Biblos. January 23, 2010. <>.

Lewis, Charlton T. and Charles Short (1879). A Latin dictionary. Founded on Andrews’ edition of Freund’ Latin dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Perseus Project. January 23, 2011. <>.

Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1940) A Greek-English lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Perseus Project. January 23, 2011. < Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dlo%2Fgos&highlight=word>.

MacNeilage, Peter (2008) The origin of speech. New York: Oxford University Press.

Margolis, Eric and Stephen. Laurence (s.a.) “Concepts”. In Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. December 10, 2010. <>.

Peacocke, Christopher (1995) A study of concepts. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Plato. Platonis Opera. John Burnet, ed. Oxford University Press, 1903. Perseus Project. January 23, 2011. <,0059,006:201c&lang= original>.

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 12. Harold N. Fowler, tr. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1921. < hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0172%3Atext%3DTheaet.>.

Rand, Ayn (s.a.). “Meaning of concepts.” The Ayn Rand lexicon. January 23, 2011. <>.

Rosenstock-Huessy, Eugen (1981) The origin of speech. Essex, VT: Argo.

Sapir, Edward (1921) Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. New York: Harcourt, Brace. Barleby. January 23, 2011. <>.

Someren, Maarten W. van (1998) Learning with multiple representations. Amsterdam; New York: Elsevier.

“Speech”. In Merriam Webster dictionary. Merriam Webster. June 23, 2010. <>.

Stout, G. F.(1899) A manual of psychology. University Correspondence College Press.

Tower of Babel. An etymological database project. Initiated by Sergei Starostin. December 2, 2010. <>.

Back to Issue