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Design Features of Language

  • Pär Segerdahl
  • William Fields
  • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

Abstract

If man is shaped by the same evolutionary mechanisms as the other animal species, then we can reasonably expect to find precursors of human language in the other primates. Detecting these precursors in apes’ interactions has proved to be a difficult task. In an important anthology on primate behaviour, Tree of Origin (2001), edited by Frans de Waal, the psychologist Charles Snowdon discusses language as a problem for evolutionary biology:

Of all the topics in this book, the origin of language is one of the most difficult to imagine emerging from our nonhuman primate ancestors. Evidence of cooperative hunting, of the cultural transmission of tool use, of empathy and reconciliation, of manipulating the behavior of social companions is clear in great apes and occasionally in some monkeys. In these areas it is easy to see much of our own behavior reflected in the behavior of apes and monkeys, and vice versa.

Keywords

Design Feature Specific Language Language Acquisition Human Language Primal Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Pär Segerdahl, William Fields and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pär Segerdahl
  • William Fields
  • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

There are no affiliations available

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