Wednesday, October 14, 2020

New Physics View about Language

We have written together with Reza Rastmanesh several articles related to biology, neuroscience, and TGD during this year. Language is indeed what distinguishes us from the other animals in a radical manner and therefore a challenge for any theory of consciousness and life. There are 3 articles related to the origin of language involving one preparatory article explaining the role of magnetic body (MB) in biochemistry and a 2-part article about a model of language - the topic of this posting.

I decided to put the introductions of the articles to blog. Articles can be found also in Research Gate and hopefully sooner or later also at my homepage (my communizations to homepage have been continually terrorized during the summer).

Human languages differ dramatically from their analogs for animals. Animal languages consist mainly of simple signals, warnings and threats for instance; emotional expression dominates and grammar is lacking. Birds can have impressive repertoire of different song patterns and monkeys have gesture language. There is a huge variety of human languages: speech and written language, sign languages based on gestures, the language of mathematics and computer languages in which emotional expression is absent. One can also regard music as a kind language expressing emotions and creating them. Also pictures define linguistic representations. Children and animals learn language by mimicry and also learn the grammar and syntax without conscious efforts. Adults can learn a foreign language by learning the vocabulary and the rules of grammar. Human language is also special in that it involves conceptualization, metaphors, and analogies representing abstract concepts in terms of objects and actions of the external world.

One might understand the semantic aspect of language in terms of association and conditioning. Language acquisition involves showing an object and uttering the word(s) describing it or assigned to it. This suggests that conditioning and association happens so that mere word generates an imagined percept of the object. Conditioning and formation of associations is a very general form of learning assumed to relate to the increase of synaptic strengths leading to a generation of association pathways. In computer science pattern recognition and completion models it mathematically. One one can ask whether learning of language and language understanding is something more than this.

For more detailed approaches of language theories, interested readers may be referred to references (see this and references in the article). The article of Kempe and Brooks (see this) and the review article "From Molecule to Metaphor: A neural theory of language" about the language theory of Jerome A. Feldman by Stefan Frank (see this) gives a deeper perspective to language theories. The notion of embodiment is in key role in these theories and will be in a key role also in the proposal to be discussed.

About language genes

Forkhead box protein P2 (FOXP2) encodes a transcription factor involved in language acquisition and speech (see this) . In addition to FOXP2 a limited number of genes are involved in speaking (see this) . All vertebrates possess FOXP2, however it is estimated that some 120,000-200,000 thousand years ago, some mutations occurred only in humans which aided humans to start initial forms of speaking (reference in article). Animals have their own primitive language; both voices and gestures with meaning make communications possible. They mainly recognize each other and communicate with pheromones. As for vocabulary, a short review of the Old Testament, cuneiform writings, glossary of old books, and hieroglyphs clearly shows that the number of entries was quite limited in the past. Therefore, a further progression of language could be mostly a matter of cultural communications and technological advances.

However, today it is clear that crucial mutations occurred in the non-coding part of the genome controlling the expression of genes coding for proteins (see this) which lead to language evolution. Therefore, the evolutionary step was associated with control of existing genes. Humans are also distinguished from animals by their learning abilities.

Language acquisition must rely on conditioning/associations between language expressions and experiences. It seems that embodiment is the mechanism, which associates to a linguistic expression an imagined sensory perceipt and/or motor action making the emergence of meaning. What is needed is long term memory and also some kind of standardization of percepts so that they consist of standardized mental images. Pattern recognition and completion could give this standardization.

Since sensory and motor imagination could be seen as almost sensory experiences and motor actions, this suggests that new communications between auditory organs and sensory and motor areas emerged. Even more generally, this kind of communication could have emerged quite generally. This would be essentially a new form of conditioning and the same mechanism could apply to all kinds of conditionings.

How the mutation of only a few genes led to cultural evolution?

Amazingly, only a few mutations for relatively few genes seems so have led to human languages. Why few point mutations of relatively few genes could have transformed biological evolution to cultural evolution? What happened for these genes? In the biochemistry framework it is difficult to imagine an answer to this question. Here TGD could come in rescue.

Number theoretic physics is part of quantum TGD and essential for understanding evolution as an increase of algebraic complexity. Evolutionary hierarchies would correspond to hierarchies of algebraic extensions of rationals. The dimension n of extension defines effective Planck constant heff/h0=n, the larger the dimension, the larger the scale of quantum coherence at corresponding level of magnetic body (MB) associated with the system. One can also say that n is analog of IQ. One can assign a value of heff characterizing their evolutionary level also to genes. The genes with larger heff would serve as control genes. The increase of heff for genes would mean an evolutionary step. Perhaps a dramatic increase of heff occurred to FOXP2 and some other genes as human language emerged.

Second mechanism could be energy resonance in the coupling of the analogs of DNA, RNA, tRNA, and amino acids consisting of dark proton triplet with their chemical counterparts. The coupling would be between the entire gene and its dark analog and codon sequence would play a role of address. In both cases small changes of the gene could spoil or produce an energy resonance. This sensitivity would make genes an ideal control tool but would also serve as a general mechanism also for genetic diseases. The increase of heff accompanied by a small mutation to guarantee energy resonance could be the mechanism explaining the importance of FOXP2 and similar control genes.

See the articles New Physics View about Language: Part I and New Physics View about Language: Part II".

For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.

Articles and other material related to TGD.

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