Re: speech

Michael McBroom (
Wed, 25 Dec 1996 01:48:42 -0500 wrote:
> shorty question, what is the speculation on when language came about?
> Neanderthal? Earlier? Any guesses at what level that language existed
> in Neanderthal?

A clarification of terms must be made. True, full-blown language (i.e.,
the complex, redundant, arbitrary, innate self-organizing system of
representation and comminication used exclusively by humans) most likely
did not occur until the emergence of archaic H. sapiens. Prior to that,
an increasingly sophisticated calls system, called "protolanguage" by
some, slowly evolved, most likely beginning with H. habilis and
continuing through H. erectus to archaic H. sapiens.

Neanderthal was an evolutionary dead-end. Any language capabilities he
had were most likely rudimentary.

See Bickerton (1990), Lieberman (1975) and (1984) for more information
on this fascinating topic.


Michael McBroom
CSUF Linguistics