THE EVOLUTION OF LANGUAGE
Organizing Experience In order to communicate, we must share a common language and enough overlapping experience to be understood. And we must also share the same mental models.
Symbolic Language In this section we address how our mirror system differs from other primates and how our complex rules, social structures and highly cooperative forms of behavior grew out of mimesis.
Oral Culture Hominids may have begun using speech early as 200,000 years ago, and almost certainly had progressed by 50,000 years ago. Some scholars believe that complex speech was the primary advantage modern humans had over Neanderthals.
External Symbols Once speech was established, it became possible to envisage recording ideas that were external to human memory and in this way extend the range of knowledge possessed by the group.
Thought and Language The transition from speech to external symbols may well have caused a feedback loop where developments in language themselves stimulated biological changes, and these changes further changed our biology. Human languages are unique tools, each one shaped and modified by the culture in which it occurs.
Book Review of The First Word The book by Christine Kenneally traces the development of the field of evolutionary linguistics from its early speculative history through to its modern emphasis on genetics and computational modeling.
The Search for our Original Language Theories of the origins of the Indo-European languages.
OUT OF AFRICA Between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago a single group of around 150-200 Homo sapiens crossed the horn of Africa into Arabia. From there they went on to colonize the world. This small tribe is the forebear of us all. What drove this first migration and what does that tell us about our evolution?
Book Review of Before the Dawn How geneticists have applied the results from the human genome project to the evolutionary history of the human race.
LATEST NEWS! Links to new information about the Human Legacy for this section.
RECOMMENDED LINKS Recommended sites on the web