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The origins of language

about the origin of language. it mentions the sources that are believed the language is originated from and how developed.

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The origins of language

  2. 2. Outline  Introduction  The origin of language  The divine sources  The natural sound source  The oral-gesture source  The physical adaption source  The genetic (innateness) source  Conclusion
  3. 3. What is Language ? When and how language begun ?
  4. 4. The origins of language:  No one knows exactly when or how human beings came up with spoken language.  One hypothesis is that language began between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, with the advent of modern man, i.e. homo sapiens.  This is well before the invention of the written language, about 5,000 years ago. We have direct evidence and artifacts about writing.
  5. 5. The divine source:  Genesis 2/19: God created Adam and “whatsoever Adam called every living creature, was the name thereof.”  The Qur’an: He said, “O Adam, inform them of their names.” And when he had informed them of their names… (Al Baqarah, 2/31-33)  A Hindu belief: language came from Saraswati, wife of Brahma, creator of the universe.
  6. 6. The divine source(cont.)  Attempts to find a divine, God-given language  Psamtik carried out an experiment with two babies depriving them of human contact. They uttered the word bekos ‘bread’ in Phrygian!!  King James the Fourth did a similar experiment and the kids were reported to speak Hebrew.  The fact is children who are deprived of any language contact cannot learn any language.
  7. 7. The natural sound source:  Language emerged from natural sounds.  Primitive words are considered to be imitations of natural sounds that people hear around them.  The natural sound a bird makes is argued to have been used to describe that particular animal.  The fact that in many languages there are words such as drip, click, meow and honk that sound like what they mean supports this claim.  Not every sound is onomatopoeic in languages!!
  8. 8. Some theories of origins of language invented by Max Müller
  9. 9. The Bow-wow theory: According to this theory, language began when our ancestors started imitating the natural sounds around them. The first speech was onomatopoeic--marked by echoic words such as moo, meow, splash, cuckoo, and bang.
  10. 10. The Yo-he-ho theory: based on the notion that speech arose from physical environmental needs which produced communal, rhythmical grunts which later on developed into chants
  11. 11. The oral-gesture source  Originally a set of physical gestures was developed as a means of communication, Then a set of oral gestures, specifically involving the mouth, developed for expressing ideas. Physical gesture (except mouth) Physical gesture (including mouth) Speech sounds
  12. 12. The physical adaption Source  Human beings are genetically with some physical features that are responsible of producing speech sounds.
  13. 13. The genetic (innateness) source  According to Chomsky, language is partly innate and partly acquired.
  14. 14. Conclusion  All presented theories do not precisely demonstrate what is the origin language, but that is clear-cut in the past people were only able do some gestures and produce a few sounds.
  15. 15. References  Vajda, E. The Origin of Language, retrieved from: http://pandora.cii.wwu.edu/vajda/ling201/test1materials/o rigin_of_language.htm  Wijaya, A. (year). The Origins of Language. (article). Retrieved from: http://awinlanguage.blogspot.com.tr/2013/04/the-origins- of-language.html  Yule,G.,(2010), The Study Of Language. 4th ed, Cambridge, Cambridge university press.

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about the origin of language. it mentions the sources that are believed the language is originated from and how developed.


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