For centuries there had been so much fruitless speculation over the question of how language began that when the Paris Linguistic Society was founded many moons ago and included a ban on any discussions of it. The early theories are now referred to by the nicknames given to them by language scholars fed up with unsupportable just-so stories.
Here are 6 theories on the origin of language
1. THE BOW-WOW THEORY
The idea that speech arose from people imitating the sounds that things make: Bow-wow, moo, baa and more!
2. THE POOH-POOH THEORY
The idea that speech comes from the automatic vocal responses to pain, fear, surprise, or other emotions: a laugh, a shriek, a gasp. But plenty of animals make these kinds of sounds too, and they didn’t end up with language.
3. THE DING-DONG THEORY
The idea that speech reflects some mystical resonance or harmony connected with things in the world.
4. THE YO-HE-HO THEORY
Started with the rhythmic chants and grunts people used to coordinate their physical actions when they worked together. There’s a HUGE difference between this kind of thing and what we do most of the time with language.
5. THE TA-TA THEORY
Speech came from the use of tongue and mouth gestures to mimic manual gestures. For example, saying ta-ta is like waving goodbye with your tongue. But most of the things we talk about do not have characteristic gestures associated with them.
6. THE LA-LA THEORY
The idea that speech emerged from the sounds of inspired playfulness, love, poetic sensibility, and song. This one is lovely, and no more or less likely than any of the others.
In today’s times..
About a century after banishment, of the language origin question, scientists started to consider it again, but this time using evidence from paleontology about the likely brain and vocal tract features of early humans.
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Learn how to say Hello in 20 languages:
The graph below shows you how to say hello in various languages
Sources: Mental Floss, Wikipedia, YouTube