Re: elaine's questions

Lynn Garth (
20 Sep 1995 01:26:50 -0400

I think that sign language definately existed before spoken language (and
I have some friends that lean toward the telepathic argument but we won't
go there)
A baby's first communication starts not only with crying and babble but is
supplemented by hand gestures and pointing. We all seem to default to
sign language when dealing with a foreign language, or in a situation
where silence is expected. I think that the first "sign" language
probably originated with subtle facial responses and grew from that. Most
animals are experts at body language, and primates are more prone to
animate than most critters--especially the higher apes. Look at their
ability to learn and use sign language. Having some form of sign
language could certainly have aided early homnids in the quest for meat.
Cooperaation makes hunting easier and usually more effective--you can go
after biger animals or larger herds; and a nod of the head is less likely
to frighten prey than vocalization.