Humans’ most important ability is our ability to communicate through spoken language. The ability of humans to speak makes us stand out in the animal kingdom, according to many philosophers and scientists. It is just natural for humans to desire to know how we developed the ability of using language in communicating. This paper focuses on how the human language evolved. Through the comparative studies of the apes with the human language, it provided information to humans when the necessity for the language structure was developed. INTRODUCTION
Study of Primates Communication Abilities. Since the ‘homo sapiens’ have been considered as the human’s cousin, the language of the apes have been studied. Some believes that the human language evolved earlier than them. The American Sign Language or ASL has been taught to a number of apes. Different approaches were also used from 1970s for some species of apes to be trained and taught disciplines of communication. Comparison of the Primate and Human Communication Abilities. Human children’s development of their language was compared to the studies made on different forms of primates.
Various studies on non-human language had been done to evaluate the probability that animals use a communication system similar to human language. Some researchers claim that the gap between human and animal language is not that great. They believe that animal language has some of the features of our language. Some argue that researchers discount this similarity because of their bias to maintain ...
It was evident on human children that their development comes slowly as they grow older. Children in the earliest age start with a single word utterance. At fifteen months old of a child, utterance of two words comes easier. Protosyntatic structures in the language development of children come next with longer word utterances. At this stage, noun phrases were observed in the language structure too. This kind of language development on children is comparatively the same with many primates studied from 1970s to present.
The ability of primates to communicate with protolanguage may be a sign that apes can actually understand, learn, and communicate. However, in many instances where primates were trained and disciplined, it is also important to consider that none of the subjects were able to be taught to verbally speak. Moreover, primate language studies have never showed any language exhibitions from the primates in the wild. The protolanguage development on the human children may be a similarity on both but the primates lack the gestural complex in humans.
Therefore, this comparison shows that the humans have the natural linguistic ability and the primates do not.
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Apes, Language and the Human Mind. New York: Oxford University Press. Deacon, T. W. (1989).
The Neural Circuitry Underlying Primate Calls and Human Language. Human evolution, 4, 367-401.