Thanks for getting the book -- I hope you like it! Yes, linguistic jokes are fascinating, but in a way are just a fun side effect. Japanese has more puns than English, for example, because it has less sounds -- so they occur more frequently.
You mention the connection between upright walking and speech. This is the idea that somehow our 'descended larynx' is essential to speech, and that this evolved through our learning to walk. This may (or may not; scholars disagree) have something to do with it, but like all theories about the dependence of speech on some biological feature unique to humans, it fails to account for the essential fact of the matter -- which is that what distinguishes human language from all other animal communication is its digital nature. And that was driven by practicality, not biology.
I'd not heard of Piet Hein, but will check him out.
> Welcome Simon.
> I already got your book on kindle yesterday and
> has started reading it.
> I use two languages and happily mix them, no
> worries, not always knowing which one I am
> speaking. That is fun. My mother tongue is Danish.
> I am also reasonably good at German, but have very
> little chance of using it.
> You mention about jokes. It is true that some can
> be understood equally well in translations, others
> not at all. I have so many good Danish jokes that
> I cannot share with anyone, and being old there
> are nobody else these days to speak Danish with,
> except one couple, and I don't see them often. My
> "kids" quickly forgot Danish when we immigrated to
> Australia. Better they speak English.
> I have an equally old "girl"friend back in Denmark
> and we write Danish. I just click and there it
> Long ago I read a theory about how walking upright
> facilitated talking, something in the throat. Do
> you know anything about that?
> Before I shut up I will just ask if you have heard
> about Piet Hein? Must be dead now. Danish poet of
> very, very witty small rhymes and poems. For a
> long time daily in a newspaper. But the thing is,
> he did it equally well in English, not sure about
> other languages, will google him in a minute.
> Some years ago I met a woman here in Australia,
> who was originally Austrian, a Jew, who had to
> flee with her parents as a child. Somehow she was
> a great fan of Piet Hein in English, and we
> enjoyed that together, but here I had this
> wonderful collection of his poems in Danish and of
> course she could not understand them. Sob!
> Graham Hancock Wrote:
> > It is our pleasure to welcome Simon Prentis,
> > author of SPEECH! How Language Made Us Human,
> > our featured author for September. In his book,
> > Simon offers a bold new theory for the
> > of language from animal communication, showing
> > a simple yet radical change was the key to
> > everything that distinguishes humans from other
> > species. He explores the growth of
> > and the development of culture, religion and
> > identity, and shows how the logic of language
> > ultimately allows us to escape the inevitable
> > traps they set for us.Simon's article is here:
> > [grahamhancock.com]