Neurology and Semantics

While researchers and theoreticians for example Chomsky (1998) Pinker (1994) Luria (1966) and Whorf (1942) wrote eloquently concerning the origin and nature of human language, settling in on the neurologically-based description continues to be difficult.

That’s due partly to too little technology that will enable us to follow the interaction among pathways as language responses are now being formulated. It’s also due partly to anthropocentric tips on the excellence between human language and also the communicative behaviors of other creatures.

Some distinctions are apparent. A persons mental abilities are more complicated and for that reason same with our language. The chimp, having a brain of roughly 14 ounces has about 15 distinct vocalizations, (i.e a phonetic vocabulary) it uses to talk with fellow troop people. A persons brain weighs between 35-65 ounces therefore it makes sense our cortically-driven, enhanced ability to parse and inter-connect sounds could be much greater. The opportunity to differentiate between using one of sounds is evenly as essential as having the ability to produce them with the fortuitously situated human larynx and hyoid bone.

However some typically espoused distinctions between human and non-human language might be somewhat artificial. For instance human speech is frequently referred to as being symbolic, i.e. associated with experience instead of real. But that’s the case with non-human languages too. The peacock’s plumage display isn’t by itself an intimate act. It signals intent, fitness, readiness and readiness as representations from the act. Meanwhile, the baring of teeth among alpha male chimps isn’t by itself an action of aggression however a signal representing the intent to do something strongly. Quite simply the signals emanating in the language of creatures is as simple as definition taken off actual experience. Therefore, it is symbolic possibly not couched in written symbols but proffered secondarily nevertheless.

Other comparisons between human and non-human language also appear overplayed. Some have stated our speech patterns serve communicative-adaptive purposes for instance in alerting each other to dangers, for mating, in order to solicit group cooperation in hunting endeavors, migratory initiatives and so forth. But all creatures do this, especially individuals with highly social-interactive societies. They may not achieve this as grammatically once we, however in the ultimate analysis a communicative signal is really a communicative signal. Many of the when one views much of human communication is really non-verbal (Andersen 2007).

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