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I tried to post this in Linguistics 101 but was denied access, soooo...
https://psyche.co/ideas/our-gr...of-invention-itself?
 
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I find it absolutely fascinating to consider that the impetus for fully-developed language might lie in the invitation to share in another's life experience through imagination. Empathy, in other words.

Yet, I'm skeptical. I think that theory describes the trend all right, but empathy came long before developed speech. Empathy is about sharing universal human experience. Or heck, universal animal experience. Watch PBS "Nature" series: this phenomenon exists among elephants, chimpanzees/ monkeys/ gorillas, meerkats.

I suspect the development of language among humans was more likely a function of the evolution of glottis & related anatomy (teeth). By virtue of lower-situated glottis, we traded health risks of choking & rotten teeth for the advantages of specific, spoken communication. None of the developments described by Dor and Dennett could have happened w/o that [I think... It's just possible that primate gestural/ sign language could have accomplished it].
 
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But which came first, anatomical "malformation," or discovering a use for it? What evidence is there for anatomically human critters having an actual language ab initio?
 
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Oh I agree Geoff, couldn't be one or the other first. My rudimentary understanding of evolution says, some guy w/a mutation - glottis low enough to articulate sounds - would live longer by virtue of being able to get others' attention easier, maybe even lead a hunting group better - procreate more, no?
 
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