Author Topic: The origins of human language?  (Read 1498 times)

Offline lallan

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 1
The origins of human language?
« on: June 05, 2015, 11:40:30 AM »
I know Shigeru Miyagawa has a new theory on just that, curious as to your thoughts on it.

For those who don't know about his theory, he's teaching an online class in a week or so about it. It's like an hour long and free if you want to know more.
https://www.edcast.org/learn/origins-of-human-language-birds-monkeys-and-humans-spring2015

Offline Copernicus

  • Linguist
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
  • Country: us
    • Natural Phonology
Re: The origins of human language?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 03:15:40 PM »
Thanks, lallan.  One can also find some online materials on his Integration Hypothesis, e.g. see The integration hypothesis of human language evolution and the nature of contemporary languages.  Here is the abstract:

Quote
How human language arose is a mystery in the evolution of Homo sapiens. Miyagawa et al. (2013) put forward a proposal, which we will call the Integration Hypothesis of human language evolution, that holds that human language is composed of two components, E for expressive, and L for lexical. Each component has an antecedent in nature: E as found, for example, in birdsong, and L in, for example, the alarm calls of monkeys. E and L integrated uniquely in humans to give rise to language. A challenge to the Integration Hypothesis is that while these non-human systems are finite-state in nature, human language is known to require characterization by a non-finite state grammar. Our claim is that E and L, taken separately, are in fact finite-state; when a grammatical process crosses the boundary between E and L, it gives rise to the non-finite state character of human language. We provide empirical evidence for the Integration Hypothesis by showing that certain processes found in contemporary languages that have been characterized as non-finite state in nature can in fact be shown to be finite-state. We also speculate on how human language actually arose in evolution through the lens of the Integration Hypothesis.

Very interesting idea.  Unfortunately, I won't have time to follow the online course.