Language at the roots of the issue: where did it come from?

ben.wilko1 By ben.wilko1, 9th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Languages

A look at the genetic origin of language and how language shapes our society

Language at the roots of the issue: where did it come from?

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Something that has really caught my interest lately is the origin of language. Sure, we all have this innate ability to learn to acquire language, but what makes us humans so uniquely equipped to communicate and use language in such a complex way?

Scientifically the origin of language partially has something to do with part of our DNA called FOX2P, this is believed by many scientists to be the gene responsible for speech. Its important to point out, however, that this gene isn't exclusive to us humans, it can be found in many creatures of the animal kingdom, including our primate cousins, chimpanzees. The importance of the FOX2P gene is how it interacts with other genes that also facilitate language which appears to be unique to humans (both modern humans and many of the species of extinct humans, i.e. Neanderthals). It is this difference that gives us the ability to form speech.

There are several theories surrounding the true origins of actual language, suggested by many scientists with many conflicting ideas. One idea would suggest that language came about by the use of simple syllables used to identify and refer to certain objects, then as our ability to speak evolved and prehistoric languages spread and were passed down through generations, they developed more into what we know of language today., complex systems of vocabulary, grammar and meaning. Not only that, language has become an integral part of our modern society and culture, where we are able to communicate with each other on a global scale, for example a French businessman can communicate with his Spanish client by learning some Spanish.
We don't know exactly how language came about, and we are just now beginning to understand how our genes allow us to communicate so easily with each other, what's important that without those initial precursors for speech, we would quite probably have communication abilities more similar to the rest of our primate cousins, rather than the complex ability that we have now. Moreover without language you wouldn't be reading this blog now!

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Comments

author avatar Rathnashikamani
10th Jul 2011 (#)

Great work well researched.
Your Linguis.net is is wonderful!

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author avatar Denise O
11th Jul 2011 (#)

Nice read. Thank you for sharing.:)

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