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Origins of Language

Language is very easy for humans to use. It comes naturally to us to hear sounds and try to repeat them. This then leads onto hearing our parents and peers and replicating what is said. Often it starts with very simple sounds such as da, ta, ba as they seem to be the easiest sounds for a baby to make. Not much movement of the tongue is necessary to pull off this miracle of evolution.

Evolution. It is only through evolution that the modern homo sapien (human) has been able to gain the ability to speak and to have language. There are many thoughts on where and how we started to gain complex sounds to produce what we call modern language.

There are thoughts that around 2 million years ago in the evolution from great apes to modern humans the larynx and vocal chords changed shape and allowed a much more diverse range of sounds to occur. It is known that the great apes do produce sounds that have specific meanings usually to convey emotion and danger, which is a type of rudimentary language. Once we achieved the ability to create more and more complex noises vocally, language is most likely to have developed naturally over time.

By examining modern language and the way it changes rapidly through new word and new ways of constructing it is possible to hypothesize that the beginnings of language would change just the same. An Oo becomes an Aa and a Ba becomes a Ka.

We know that modern humans have existed for more than 200000 years and spread rapidly throughout the world, and the use of language with intricate structure and grammar would have helped humans to colonize the planet. Without language, could we have spread so easily? That is still debated but it seems unlikely.