• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Psychology of Language - Why is Man the Only Animal to Have Evolved Language?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Psychology of Language-3COG 308 Why is Man the Only Animal to Have Evolved Language? This essay looks at possible reasons why man seems to be the only animal to have evolved language. Although animals can communicate, there is no species within which a system comparable to human language can be found. There is a lot that is unclear about the origins & the evolution of language, which makes it more difficult to understand why humans have this capacity & animals do not. The faculty for language must have come about when Homo sapiens was differentiated from other species, this in itself, offers a clue, humans followed a separate line of development, one that is not shared by other species. If the first indication of a proto-language facility occurred at this time, then there could have been around 350, 000 generations from then, until now for language to develop into what it is now, (Pinker, 1994), & as the other primates followed a completely separate evolutionary path, there is no reason for them to have developed language. ...read more.

Middle

Animals lack this ability of combining complex motor skills with mental constructions into intelligible sounds that convey meaning. Mental construction is seen as a general ability that is common to those with higher intellectual functions & controlled by interrelated parts of the brain, & although there is evidence that the great apes possess some cognitive & motor facilities that are similar to humans there is evidence for humans developing & improving their mental constructional skills from 1.5 million years ago in a way that the great apes didn't. Although many animals do have a quite varied collection of sounds used for communication they lack grammar. It is argued by some that grammar came about through Darwinian natural selection, (Pinker & Bloom, 1990) but another explanation presented is that grammar was a consequence of other developments like increased brain size, (Chomsky, 1968). This increase in brain size has given humans abilities that are far beyond those of animals, & have enabled the development of the complex brain structures necessary for language to evolve. Even the largest primates have a much smaller brain size than humans & although they do have quite complex social organisation & communication systems they simply don't have the processing power needed for language to develop. ...read more.

Conclusion

Being able to rapidly communicate detailed information could have given an advantage to those using this code, leading to a better chance of survival. Another part of Knights theory holds that whereas primates don't collectively deceive, humans do, as part of setting up group identity, therefore primate resistance to deception impedes the emergence of the features of speech. Pretend play is vital to the development of the cognitive skills necessary for distinguishing surface from deeper meaning, the concept of co-operative pretend play is essential to the current understanding of how children acquire speech. Although animals do use social displays as a form of communication, these lack the complexity of human social displays, & although chimps play, there is no collective sharing of what is imagined & they do not indulge in pretend-play, maybe because their understanding of the world is limited to only what is relevant to them, unlike humans they lack the facility of creativity & abstraction. Possibly human displays became so time consuming that the development of a 'code' to convey information evolved out of necessity as human awareness extended to encompass greater, more complex ideas. This greater awareness & comprehension of complex concepts also becoming possible through the larger brain size & higher processing ability that was also evolving. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Investigating how language has changed in children's literature; in relation to interaction between ...

    5 star(s)

    One aspect that can be seen to change chronologically is the choice of words, and those which are now deemed archaic. The extract from Tom Brown's School days, contains more advanced lexis, and much more accentuated syntax and sentence structure, 'interrupted the Doctor, as the pitiful condition of "East's" garments was fully revealed to him.'

  2. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    References 1. Bucholtz, Mary, & Lakoff, Robin Tolmach (1975). Language and Woman's Place: Text and Commentaries, Harper & Row. 2. Kramner (1973), Cheryl, Actual and Percieved Sex-Linked Differences in Adverb and Adjective Usage. Linguistic Society of America 3. Cameron, C., Oskamp, S, & Sparks, W (1977).

  1. How do Politicians gain support through language? AQA English coursework

    By admitting that he is unable to promise perfection, a very human persona is established. Charles Kennedy highlights the broadness of the Liberal democrat's policies. Minor sentence "From the food chain to climate change, energy to trade, aviation to sustainable international development."

  2. Free essay

    'Everyday creativity is always dialogical in Bakhtin's sense.'

    Bakhtin points out that we can imitate the voice of others that this is almost always done for the reasons of assessment or opinion. Bakhtin uses his view of the dialogic character of language to emphasize how in all language use other voices continue to appear which creatively challenge or confront existing norms.

  1. Semantic Processing in Advertising

    The results for the experiment were all obtained in the same hour so the time factor could not affect the results (memory may be better at different times of the day). Analysis/Results After looking at my results several frameworks have occurred.

  2. Тhe Welsh language

    are related to the modern forms celein (corpse), trigo (dwells) and dan (beneath). In that time took place the influence of Latin and Irish. The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD and their power had collapsed by 410 AD and Britannia ceased to be the part of the Empire.

  1. Hemispheric Specialisation and Dominance in Language Processing and Production

    Kinsbourne and McMurray carried out valuable research using healthy participants, using a procedure similar to the current study (cited in Kalat, 2004, pg. 427). They asked participants to tap with a pencil on a piece of paper as many times as they could in one minute, first with their right

  2. Dom Casmurro Creativity

    They proceeded on after that and soon later, they were out of my view. I was shocked, appalled, flabbergasted at the image that has now burned into my mind. With hands trembling, and heart racing faster and faster, I wondered if I was hallucinating at that moment in which case I knew I could not have.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work