where did human language come from?
several dimensions to the problem
myths
Babel
one-origin theory of humans (and language?)
evolution of primates -- Darwin & Wallace
language change -- historical linguistics
language acquisition-- children
rapid and predictable between 1 to 4 years.
transition from basic mammalese to human language?
timeline for everything-- brief or detailed?
vocalization and hearing predate mammals
vocalization in fish 300 MYA
hearing  300 MYA
first mammals circa 225 MYA
first primates circa 60 MYA
hominid evolution
Goodall's 1985 chimp call dictionary
hierarchical, recursive human language
a transition from a closed communication system to an open one-- enabling creation on the fly of novel, yet conventional, messages.
and if that's inadequate-- create a word for it!
interdisciplinary speculation!
what IS language (L)?  (linguistics...)
specific structures for specific purposes
creative/productive
transmitted generation to generation, genes & culture
biological foundations? (biologists, anthropologists..)
functions and acquisition  of L (psychologists....)
factors and issues
primates are 60 m year old mammals
social communication  is not rare
found in all sexually reproducing species
extensive in birds and social mammals
primates are no exception--
use all senses: olfaction, touch, audition, vision
vocal calls predictably widespread--ears and vocalization are ancient.
rat song!
gorilla long call
bonobo call
communication is NOT evidence for language!
left hemisphere bias in apes maybe
bipedal primates-- the first steps to L
a set of other steps including
social communication and brain size
brain expansion
increasing cerebral asymmetry
expansion of the brain enables more synaptic connections and perhaps greater independence of hemispheres (asymmetry and specialization). In this perspective the human brain can become 3x2 the size of its cousins'.
other "mosaic" modifications: PFC, MTL
language areas in the modern brain
dietary issues -- meat, teeth, gut & brain
brain control and acquisition of fine rapid movements
birth issues  (compare with ape cousins)
vocal tract specialization
modern humans about 100,000 years old
"one-origin" theory applied to language
language genes?
obviously many factors in place before language
larynx and other vocal tract elements
ear
brain
brain growth
motor learning
mirror neurons and grain of movements
vocal control - distinct FOX2P changes/activity in
human vocal organs
bats ...
song birds ...
not chimps!
behavior observed by Keith Hayes circa 1940 (video)
was there a language spoken before humans evolved?
why not? some call this possibility a "proto-language."
is creativity a result of rapid formulation and splicing actions together??
a "language instinct?"
"instinct" does not imply just one or two genes but a collection of genetic variations that uniquely among primates converges on human language.
L is found in all human groups
the structure of L is similar everywhere (see above)
acquisition is rapid and uniform across cultures
dull children get it on their own-- smart apes don't.
many biological clues for a language "instinct"
brain, hearing, and vocal tract adaptations
increasing genetic information (FOX2P)
information from clinical cases- aphasia, SLI, Williams syndrome, .......