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      • Origin of language theories: It is known as a theory in which language originated in interjections that gradually acquired meaning. The idea is that speech comes from the automatic vocal responses to pain, fear, anger, joy, and cries for emotion. Many other emotions like lough, a shriek, a gasp.
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  2. Jun 29, 2020 · According to this theory, language began when our ancestors started imitating the natural sounds around them. The first speech was onomatopoeic —marked by echoic words such as moo, meow, splash, cuckoo, and bang . What's wrong with this theory? Relatively few words are onomatopoeic, and these words vary from one language to another.

    • Richard Nordquist
    • 1 min
    • English And Rhetoric Professor
  3. Relying heavily on Atkinson's work, a subsequent study has explored the rate at which phonemes develop naturally, comparing this rate to some of Africa's oldest languages. The results suggest that language first evolved around 50,000–150,000 years ago, which is around the time when modern Homo sapiens evolved.

    • Observations on The Origins of Language
    • Physical Adaptations
    • from Words to Syntax
    • The Gesture Theory of Language Origin
    • Language as A Device For Bonding
    • Otto Jespersen on Language as Play
    • Divided Views on The Origins of Language
    • Also See

    "Divine origin[is the] conjecture that human language originated as a gift from God. No scholar takes this idea seriously today." (R.L. Trask, A Student's Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1997; rpt. Routledge, 2014) "Numerous and varied explanations have been put forth to explain how humans acquired language—many of which date back to the ti...

    - "Instead of looking at types of sounds as the source of human speech, we can look at the types of physical features humans possess, especially those that are distinct from other creatures, which may have been able to support speech production. . . . "Human teeth are upright, not slanting outwards like those of apes, and they are roughly even in h...

    "Language-ready modern children learn vocabulary voraciously before they begin to make grammatical utterances several words long. So we presume that in the origins of language a one-word stage preceded our remote ancestors' first steps into grammar. The term 'protolanguage' has been widely used to describe this one-word stage, where there is vocabu...

    - "Speculation about how languages originate and evolve has had an important place in the history of ideas, and it has been intimately linked to questions about the nature of the signed languages of the deaf and human gestural behavior in general. It can be argued, from a phylogenetic perspective, the origin of human sign languages is coincident wi...

    "[T]he size of human social groups gives rise to a serious problem: grooming is the mechanism that is used to bond social groups among primates, but human groups are so large that it would be impossible to invest enough time in grooming to bond groups of this size effectively. The alternative suggestion, then, is that language evolved as a device f...

    - "[P]rimitive speakers were not reticent and reserved beings, but youthful men and women babbling merrily on, without being so particular about the meaning of each word. . . . They chattered away for the mere pleasure of chattering . . .. [P]rimitive speech . . . resembles the speech of little baby himself, before he begins to frame his own langua...

    "Today, opinion on the matter of language origins is still deeply divided. On the one hand, there are those who feel that language is so complex, and so deeply ingrained in the human condition, that it must have evolved slowly over immense periods of time. Indeed, some believe that its roots go all the way back to Homo habilis, a tiny-brained homin...

    • Richard Nordquist
    • 2 min
    • English And Rhetoric Professor
    • The mama theory. Language began with the easiest syllables attached to the most significant objects.
    • The ta-ta theory. Sir Richard Paget, influenced by Darwin, believed that body movement preceded language. Language began as an unconscious vocal imitation of these movements — like the way a child’s mouth will move when they use scissors, or my tongue sticks out when I try to play the guitar.
    • The bow-wow theory. Language began as imitations of natural sounds — moo, choo-choo, crash, clang, buzz, bang, meow… This is more technically referred to as onomatopoeia or echoism.
    • The pooh-pooh theory. Language began with interjections, instinctive emotive cries such as oh! for surprise and ouch! for pain.
    • The mama theory. Language began with the easiest syllables attached to the most significant objects.
    • The ta-ta theory. Sir Richard Paget, influenced by Darwin, believed that body movement preceded language. Language began as an unconscious vocal imitation of these movements — like the way a child’s mouth will move when they use scissors, or my tongue sticks out when I try to play the guitar.
    • The bow-wow theory. Language began as imitations of natural sounds — moo, choo-choo, crash, clang, buzz, bang, meow… This is more technically referred to as onomatopoeia or echoism.
    • The pooh-pooh theory. Language began with interjections, instinctive emotive cries such as oh! for surprise and ouch! for pain.
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