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Genetic and Social Theories of Language - Essay Example

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In this essay, the author demonstrates how to know the details of exactly what the circumstances were which caused the homo sapiens species to develop language skills. Also, the author describes two main approaches have been suggested to explain the origins of language…
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Genetic and Social Theories of Language
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Download file to see previous pages In order to determine how appropriate two theories are in explaining the origins of language, it is important to look for evidence which supports either of these views or evidence which suggests some other explanation. When one considers the physical equipment that was needed for humans to begin speaking to each other, it is clear that there is a complicated mouth structure which can make sounds using air coming up from the lungs and friction or stops using lips, teeth, and tongue. Very similar physical attributes are present in quite a number of animals, including parrots and other birds which can mimic the human voice very closely. This is not true language use, however, because birds cannot hold a real conversation, beyond just repeating phrases they have learned to imitate. The sounds that speaking birds make are empty of meaning, and so they are just empty signs. This means that they can produce
The great apes have more idea of what language is, and a few have even been taught to communicate true lexical units and sentences through sign language even though they lack the physical equipment to make sounds that approximate human speech. The utterances that apes make among themselves may be a very rudimentary form of language but there is not the range of sound possibility that humans have.  Apes have not developed sign language on their own, even though they have demonstrated the capability to learn it.  These two examples of talking birds and signing apes show that partial language abilities are present in animals but that only a specific combination of inborn physical and mental equipment could lead to the formation of human language in the first instance. It is interesting also, that in both of these cases it takes the involvement of a human being before the evidence of rudimentary language begins to be seen. Birds do not talk and apes do not use sign language in the wild. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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