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ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE

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Sheylita Alvarez

on 5 September 2014

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Transcript of ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE

Notes
4. The pooh-pooh theory
6. The yo-he-ho theory
7. The sing-song theory
ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE
WHAT IS LANGUAGE?
Language is a system of symbols that are used for communication. It consists on phonetics, syntax and semantics.
DID YOU KNOW?
The origin of language is considered the hardest problem in science.
This problem is caused by the lack of direct evidence.
3.The bow-wow theory
Language began as imitations of natural sounds -- moo, choo-choo, crash, clang, buzz, bang, meow... This is more technically refered to as onomatopoeia or echoism.

8.The hey you! theory
A linguist by the name of Revesz suggested that we have always needed interpersonal contact, and that language began as sounds to signal both identity (here I am!) and belonging (I’m with you!). We may also cry out in fear, anger, or hurt (help me!). This is more commonly called the contact theory.
10.The eureka! theory
This theory suggests language was conciously invented. Maybe ancestors had the idea of assigning arbitrary sounds to mean certain things. Clearly, once the idea was had, it would catch on like wild-fire!
CLASSIFICATION OF THEORIES
1. The mama theory.
Language began with the easiest syllables attached to the most significant objects.
2. The ta-ta theory.
Sir Richard Paget, influenced by Darwin, believed that body movement preceded language. Language began as an unconscious vocal imitation of these movements -- like the way a child’s mouth will move when they use scissors, or my tongue sticks out when I try to play the guitar. This evolved into the popular idea that language may have derived from gestures.

The ding-dong theory. Some people, including the famous linguist Max Muller, have pointed out that there is a rather mysterious correspondence between sounds and meanings. Small, sharp, high things tend to have words with high front vowels in many languages, while big, round, low things tend to have round back vowels! Compare itsy bitsy teeny weeny with moon, for example. This is often referred to as sound symbolism.

5.The ding-dong theory
Language began with interjections, instinctive emotive cries such as oh! for surprise and ouch! for pain.
Language began as rhythmic chants, perhaps ultimately from the grunts of heavy work (heave-ho!). The linguist A. S. Diamond suggests that these were perhaps calls for assistance or cooperation accompanied by appropriate gestures.
Danish linguist Jesperson suggested that language comes out of play, laughter, cooing, courtship, emotional mutterings and the like. He even suggests that, contrary to other theories, perhaps some of our first words were actually long and musical, rather than the short grunts many assume we started with.

9. A gift of gods theory
Bibliography
http://grammar.about.com/od/grammarfaq/a/Where-Does-Language-Come-From.htm
http://www.trueorigin.org/language01.asp
http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/hurley/Ling102web/mod1_popideas/mod1.3_origins.htm

The idea that language contains special powers and can be used to control people, objects, and spirits comes out of the theory that language has a divine connection.
Thoth of ancient Egypt was a moon god as well as the inventor of writing and scribe to the gods.
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