Origin of language

1. The Origins of Language

2. THE ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE CONTENTS : 1/ INTRODUCTION Divine sources 2/ Theories about origin 3/ Physical adaption 4/ Tool making source Conlusion

3. The Divine Source

4. Hindu Tradition Language came from Sarasvati, wife of Brahma, creator of the universe.uBiblical Source In the book of Genesis, God created Adam and “whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” uDivine Source

5.  If human infants were allowed to grow up without hearing any language around them, then they would spontaneously begin using the original God-given language.uBasic assumption of Divine Source Theory

6.  The Greek writer Herodotus reported the story of an Egyptian pharaoh named Psammetichus (or Psamtik) who tried the experiment with two newborn babies more than 2,500 years ago. After two years of isolation except for the company of goats and a mute shepherd, the children were reported to have spontaneously uttered, not an Egyptian word, but something that was identified as the Phrygian word bekos,meaning bread.” The pharaoh concluded that Phrygian, an older language spoken in part of what Is modern Turkey, must be the original language. That seems very unlikely. The children may not have picked up this “word” from any human source, but as several commenta-tors have pointed out, they must have heard what the goats were saying. (First remove the -kos ending, which was added in the Greek version of the story, then pronounce be-as you would the English word bed without -d at the end. Can you hear a goat?)uStory of an Egyptian Pharaoh

7. King James the Fourth of Scotland carried out a similar experiment around the year 1500 and the children were reported to have spontaneously started speaking Hebrew, confirming the King’s belief that Hebrew had indeed been the language of the Garden of Eden.uKing James’ experiment

8. The natural sound source

9. “ta-ta” hypothesisØ“bow-wow” hypothesis Ø“pooh-pooh” hypothesis Ø“ding-dong” hypothesis ØInvention/imitation hypotheses: Ø Natural evolution ØSome Theories

10. Necessity Theories of Language Invention • Warning hypothesis •“yo-he-ho” hypothesis • Lying hypothesis

11.  Humans evolved a Language Acquisition Device . The simple vocalizations and gestures inherited from our primitive ancestors quickly gave way to a creative system of languageuNatural Evolution Hypothesis   “Homo loquens” – the speaking human!u One theory suggests this perhaps gave Homo sapiens an advantage over Homo neatherthal is, whose vocalizations were limited by a less developed vocal tract. Studies of Neanderthal skulls indicate that they were only able to produce fricative sounds, like /f/ and /v/. u– perhaps in a single generation or two due to a genetic mutation that produced advantageous results.

12.  “Ding-Dong” – humans named objects, actions and phenomena after a recognizable sound associated with it. The first human words were a type of ICON, a sign whose form is an exact image of its meaning: Boom = explosion (English) Tun-tun = heart (Chinook Indian) Ai-ai = knife (Basque, literally “ouch-ouch”)uInvention Hypotheses (Ding Dong)

13. 2. The natural sound source

14.  Differ from language to language: English ouch; Russian oi; Cherokee eee, Basque ai Made with intake of breath, which is the opposite of normal talking.u Problems: Very small part of any language. u Ha-ha-ha, wah-wah u “pooh-pooh” Hypothesis: humans’ first words were derived from spontaneous expressions of dislike, hunger, pain, or pleasure. uInvention Hypotheses (Pooh – Pooh)

15.  PROBLEM: Where do names for natural noiseless concepts come from: rock, sun, sky, love????u Rooster: cocka-doodle-do; Japanese kokekoko; Greek kikuriku, kikikiriki u Cat: meow; Russian myaoo; Chinese mao; Japanese nya-nya u Dog: bow-wow; Chinese wu-wu; Jap. wan-wan; Russian gaf-gaf or tyaff-tyaff u Renditions of animal sounds differ considerably from language to language, even though the animal makes essentially the same sound: uInvention Hypotheses

16.  The words like cuckoo, splash, bang , boom, rattle, buzz, hiss, screech and forms such as bow-wow.u The fact that all modern languages have some words with pronunciations that seem to echo naturally occurring sounds could be used to support this theory. u Similarly by hearing coo-coo sound the early man might have identified the bird with sound. u When an object flew by , making a caw-caw sound, the early human tried to imitate the sound and used it to refer to the thing associated with the sound. u The primitive sounds have been imitations of the natural sounds which early men and women heard around them. uThe basic assumption(Bow-wow)

17. Bow-Wow theory of language This view of language origin has been called the “ Bow-wow theory.

18. The function of language is not just to name the words.uThis theory does not explain the origin of abstract word in language. uThis theory is only acceptable in regard to onomatopoeic words. While we know that not all the words are onomatopoeic. u

19.  Another theory suggests that the original sounds of language may have come from natural cries of emotion such as pain, anger and joy.uNatural Cries of emotion

20.  Basically, the expressive noises people make in emotional reactions contain sounds that are not otherwise used in speech production and consequently would seem to be rather unlikely candidates as source sounds for languageu But Ouch! and other interjections such as Ah!,Ooh!,Wow! or Yuck!, are usually produced with sudden intakes of breath, which is the opposite of ordinary talk. We normally produce spoken language on exhaled breath. uThe theory can be refuted on the following grounds:

21.  Even Darwin himself thought this was a little implausible.u Same problem as for onomatopoeia – different gestures in different cultures: crossing fingers for good luck in English versus Russian “fig” gesture; nodding “no” in Greek versus “yes” in English u “ta-ta” Hypothesis. Charles Darwin theorized that speech may have developed as a sort of mouth pantomime – the organs of speech were used to imitate the gestures of the hand. The first words were lip icons of hand gestures. uInvention Hypotheses (ta-ta) 

22.  Other first words could have been hunting instructions.uWarning Hypothesis. Language evolved from the warning signals used by animals. Perhaps language started with a warning sound to others, that signified “HELP!” or “RUN!” to alert other members to the approach of a lumbering hairy mammoth or hungry saber-tooth tiger. u Necessity is the mother of invention” uNecessity Hypotheses

23.  Seems pretty far-fetched.u The “Lying” Hypothesis: Sturtevant argued that since all our real intentions or emotions get involuntarily expressed by gesture, look, or sound, voluntary communication must have been invented in order to lie or deceive. He believed that the need to deceive and lie – to use language in contrast to reality for selfish ends – was the social prompting that got language started. uNecessity Hypotheses

24.  Another proposal involving natural sound has been called the “ yo-he-ho” theory. The idea is that the sounds of a person involved in physical effort could be the source our language, especially when that physical effort involved several people and the interaction had to be coordinated.uYo-he-ho theory

25. So, a group of early humans might have developed a set of hums, grunts, groans and curses that were used when they were lifting and carrying large bits of trees or lifeless hairy mammoths.

26. Primitive man hunting a mammoth

27.  Early people must have lived in groups, if only because larger groups offered better protection from attack. Groups are necessarily social organizations and ,to maintain those organizations, some form of communication is required, even if it is just grunts and curses.u Language we know is a social phenomenon and it must have been originated in groups. u The appeal of this theory lies in its emphasis on social context. uAppeal of the theory

28. But the theory does not fully answer our question as we see same kind of sounds produced by different animals but these grunts and groans do not develop into a fully fledged communicative language.uWeaker point of the theory

29. The Real Reason For Language

30. The Physical Adaptation Source

31. Basic Assumption Physical features humans possess, especially those that are distinct from other creatures, may have been able to support speech production.

32.  our ancestors made a very significant transition to an upright posture, with bipedal (on two feet) locomotion, and a revised role for the front limbs.uBipedalism

33. Neanderthal Man

34. 4. The physical adaptation source

35. Human vs Neanderthal (Evidence of vocal tract)

36. The reconstructed vocal tract of a Neanderthal suggests that some consonant-like sound distinctions would have been possible.u

37.  In the study of evolutionary development, there are certain physical features, best thought of as partial adaptations, which appear to be relevant for speech. They are streamlined versions of features found in other primates. By themselves, such features would not necessarily lead to speech production, but they are good clues that a creature possessing such features probably has the capacity for speech.u

38.  Human teeth are upright, not slanting outwards like those of apes, and they are roughly even in height. Such characteristics are not very useful for ripping or tearing food and seem better adapted for grinding and chewing. They are also very helpful in making sounds such as f or v.uTeeth

39.  The human mouth is relatively small compared to other primates, can be opened and closed rapidly, and contains a smaller, thicker and more muscular tongue which can be used to shape a wide variety of sounds inside the oral cavity.u Human lips have more intricate muscle interlacing than is found in other primates and their resulting flexibility certainly helps in making sounds like p or b. uLips, Mouth and Tongue

40.  In addition, unlike other primates, humans can close off the airway through the nose to create more air pressure in the mouth. The overall effect of these small differences taken together is a face with more intricate muscle interlacing in the lips and mouth, capable of a wider range of shapes and a more rapid and powerful delivery of sounds produced through these different shapes.u

41. The tool-making source