Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Language developed for communication, to facilitate learning the use of tools and weapons, to plan hunting and defence, to develop a "theory of mind" and the tools of thought, and to attract and keep a mate. The adaptations required took place over many millions of years. The first important one was left-sided specialisation of the neural apparatus controlling involuntary emotional vocalisations that began more than 200 million years ago. The next was the development in primates of "mirror neurones" in the pre-motor cortex some 45 million years ago. These enabled the imitation and voluntary control of previously involuntary manual gestures and vocalisations. The third important adaptation was the descent of the larynx, 100,000 years ago, which greatly increased the phonological range of vocalisations that could be made. Thus, language did not develop all at once as suggested by Chomsky, but evolved gradually building upon adaptations originally meeting quite different needs.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.ijporl.2003.08.011

Type

Conference paper

Publication Date

12/2003

Volume

67 Suppl 1

Pages

S131 - S135

Keywords

Brain, Child, Child Language, Communication, Gestures, Humans, Language Development, Speech, Verbal Learning