Linguistics Essay on Psychological Aspects of Language

by Ryan Thompson February 17, 2016
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Question

-What do we know about language and the mind?

-How do we ‘carve’ up the world?

-How do we create meaning and understanding?

-What does gesture reveal about thought?

-Does language affect our memory?

Solution

Introduction

The origin of human language could have been an evolutionary process, or it could have been a sudden happening which was soon widely accepted for its easy nature.Sociolinguists theorize that language might have been gifted to human beings by divine beings and that human beings are born with language.

The Evolution of Language

The evolutionary hypothesis (Vajda, 2015) states that language is a result of carefully selected genetic mutations which led to the development of early humanoids into updated versions of themselves with something called a Language acquisition devise or LAD (Krashen S. D., 2008). In the process of evolution the LAD has endowed humanoids with a voice box; the muzzle disappeared and made way for the tongue to work; the brain became larger with more convolutions; the ears became smaller and more receptive for directional reception and finally, the humanoids started to stay in groups. Communication was theorized to have started when the first human beings started to stay in a group and they ran out of arbitrary signs and gestures. They then started using their vocalizations for communication and soon realized the potential.

The inventive hypothesis

The divine theory (Vajda, 2015) states that language has come from God and cannot be rules out because none of the hypothesis can be proved. If we look at the whole process empirically and believe in the existence of divine beings, this hypothesis might as well be true. (Brian P. Meier and David J. Hauser, 2007)

There are other theories as well, which speak about the origins of language and theorize the beginning of the usage of language in other believable ways, but we still do not have any proof of anything except for the evolutionary theory which can be partly proved but we still do not know what triggered language in human beings. One certain theory speaks about how human language originated from a single tribe; called the one mother tongue theory or the Out of Africa theory (Vajda, 2015) but it does not speak about how language originated; it assumes that language was already present and states that there was only one mother tongue in the whole world which then became the plethora of languages we know today, due to geographicality, climate, social interactions and other reasons.

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Animal Communication contrasted to human communication

Animals can use vocalizations in their communication along with a fair share of body gestures and contextual actions, for example, a specific species of barking deer stomp their feet on the ground to indicate danger nearing the location of the herd(Mannell, 1999). The other deer easily understand this indication and steer away from the place before the predator or any other danger harm them. Bees can easily communicate with their fellow bees to indicate the location of honey. Dogs wag their tail when they are happy and they even seem to understand a few statements owners make. But their communication skills, no matter how excellent they are, are limited to a lexicon of ten to twenty words. Even cats wag their tail, but they do it when they are intimidated about something. It has been noted that animal language is impressive at grass root levels, but lacks the intricate nature of human language on a larger level. The arbitrariness in their language is so far-fetched and contextual that it is almost impossible for human beings to understand their language except for a few ten to twenty lexemes. But, this does not mean that they do not have a language. Perhaps, it is only time that might someday prove that the non-human animals speak in a much more sophisticated language and that we were not well equipped with knowledge to understand them. As of now, we have a very intricate system of communication consisting of millions of words and new words are being used every day.

 

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