I need help with an anthropology question!?
Languages don’t “evolve” – get more complex – over time…they devolve. This isn’t the common theory that’s tied to evolutionary anthropology, but it’s the truth…and is proven by studying the formation and branch-offs of any known language stock.
Some common theories to try to prove that language evolved in ape-like hominids include:
Anomynopedic – one species, out of the thousands and thousands on earth, started mimicing the sounds around them, and those “buzzes” and “beeps” somehow morphed into a fully formed and complex grammatical structure capable of expressing abstract concepts and complex thought.
Yo ee hoe – grunts that helped people coordinate group labor efforts somehow morphed into that same complex language, grammar, and syntax.
Marxist – Animal gestures somehow morphed into speech, which then somehow evolved into complex languages that were written in various forms, all of a sudden.
Polygenesis Theory – Many languages evolved at the same time. This states that because apes may have evolved into humans in more that one place, they each invented their own (completely complex) language around the same time, in the same or different ways, by various groups evolving from similar creatures.
Psychedelic Glossolalia Hypothesis – This states that prehistoric man started eating fungi that gave them hallucinations, so they started uttering words that eventurally evolved into languages. Basically, that all languages evolved from usage of LSD.
(By the way, I am sooo not trying to start a thing on evolution vs. creation here…not the point. Anthropologically, and linguistically, these are the main theories out there. They don’t fit the evidence – fully formed written languages appearing on the scene, at around the same time, but that’s what will probably be in your book…maybe under a different explanation.)
There are various other theories out there as well, but these are some of them. The answer your teacher is looking for, though, is probably in your textbook.
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