Re: Human Language. (long post)

Susan S. Chin (
Thu, 2 Jan 1997 06:28:04 GMT

John Waters wrote:
: > > If H. erectus could manage without language for nearly two
: > > million years of its existence, why did H.s.s need
: > > language?
: >
: > > Could it be that language wasn't actually needed by the
: > > species, but arrived as a result of another long-term
: > > evolutionary process?

Michael McBroom ( wrote:
: Fist off, John's original question is based on a somewhat false
: premise. While H. erectus almost certainly did not have full-blown
: language, he almost certainly did have some sort of "protolanguage"
: capability (cf. Bickerton [1990]), which during his 2 million year
: existence, no doubt progressed from rudimentary to complex.

The increased cranial capacity seen in the evolution from Homo erectus to
early Homo sapiens also suggests that the larger brained sapiens' cognitive
abilities, thought patterns, were more complex in nature. These more
complex thought patterns would require more than just the rudimentary
language earlier hominid species may have used, the "protolanguage"
referred to above possibly.

One theory that I've heard related to this is the relationship between
the increased technological complexity seen in the archaeological lithic
record. Perhaps merely demonstrating how a particular tool is created...
vocalized language facilitated this learning process. There must be a
reference in the literature for this somewhere...

Anyway, Happy New Year everyone!