Not so random animal sounds may show a stepping stone towards language

Reblogged from ktwop.

Not so random animal sounds may show a stepping stone towards language

Now research on animal sounds suggests that for some species the sounds they make are not as random as they were originally thought to be. They exhibit levels of complexity which are suggestive of stepping-stones along the long road to grammar and language. Such steps may have assisted humans from moving from sounds and words to context-free grammars and thence to language.

The sequence in humans – I speculate – could have been:

(300KYA) gestures>> sounds>> (smiles, laughter?)>> words>> ..(unknown steps)>> simple grammar>> context-free grammar>> language>> symbols>> abstract symbols>> writing (12KYA)

About ktwop

Scientist, technologist, salesman, manager, executive and now a consultant and author.
This entry was posted in Evolution, Origins of language, Orogins of speech and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Not so random animal sounds may show a stepping stone towards language

  1. Simon says:

    Our perception of language is incredibly antrophocentric, we probably have a hard time recognizing animal “language” of all sorts. The notion of “random” animal noises is bizarre, since there’s not really anything else in animal behavior that is random.
    The simple fact is that communicative needs of animal are much different from ours is reflected in animal “language”. Thus, the debate about animal language follows the exact same lines as that of animal intelligence or consciousness.

    I’d be intersted why you propose unknown steps in between words and simple grammar, and what these steps might comprise? Might musical elements constitute some kind of grammar as well or foreshade them?

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