David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):259-280 (2006)
It has long been claimed that Homo sapiens is the only species that has language, but only recently has it been recognized that humans also have an unusual pattern of growth and development. Social mammals have two stages of pre-adult development: infancy and juvenility. Humans have two additional prolonged and pronounced life history stages: childhood, an interval of four years extending between infancy and the juvenile period that follows, and adolescence, a stage of about eight years that stretches from juvenility to adulthood. We begin by reviewing the primary biological and linguistic changes occurring in each of the four pre-adult ontogenetic stages in human life history. Then we attempt to trace the evolution of childhood and juvenility in our hominin ancestors. We propose that several different forms of selection applied in infancy and childhood; and that, in adolescence, elaborated vocal behaviors played a role in courtship and intrasexual competition, enhancing fitness and ultimately integrating performative and pragmatic skills with linguistic knowledge in a broad faculty of language. A theoretical consequence of our proposal is that fossil evidence of the uniquely human stages may be used, with other findings, to date the emergence of language. If important aspects of language cannot appear until sexual maturity, as we propose, then a second consequence is that the development of language requires the whole of modern human ontogeny. Our life history model thus offers new ways of investigating, and thinking about, the evolution, development, and ultimately the nature of human language.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
D. Kimbrough Oller & Ulrike Griebel (2006). How the Language Capacity Was Naturally Selected: Altriciality and Long Immaturity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):293-294.
Bertram F. Malle (2002). The Relation Between Language and Theory of Mind in Development and Evolution. In Malle, Bertram F. (2002) the Relation Between Language and Theory of Mind in Development and Evolution. [Book Chapter].
Robert B. Eckhardt (2006). The Evolution of Language: Present Behavioral Evidence for Past Genetic Reprogramming in the Human Lineage. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):284-285.
Chris Knight & Camilla Power (2006). Words Are Not Costly Displays: Shortcomings of a Testosterone-Fuelled Model of Language Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):290-291.
Derek Bickerton (2003). Language Evolution Without Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (6):669-670.
Sonia Ragir & Patricia J. Brooks (2006). Language and Life History: Not a New Perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):296-297.
Derek Bickerton (2006). Language Use, Not Language, is What Develops in Childhood and Adolescence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):280-281.
Barbara J. King (2006). Apes, Humans, and M. C. Escher: Uniqueness and Continuity in the Evolution of Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):289-290.
John L. Locke & Barry Bogin (2006). Life History and Language: Selection in Development. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (3):301-311.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads37 ( #38,283 of 1,004,651 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #64,617 of 1,004,651 )
How can I increase my downloads?