Nature vs. Nurture What comes from Biology (genetics) and what comes from cultural development?
Darwin: The difference between humans and other species is not qualitative but quantitative
Cradle of Language, South Africa ; Birdsong, Speech and Language. Converging Mechanisms, Utrecht 2007 Protolanguage - arose about a million years ago in Homo erectus and has distinctive devices (sequential order, null elements, arguments of verbs, mechanisms for expansion and grammatical correctness) (Bickerton 1990) Autonomous vocal language, with a largely nonessential visual component, may have arisen [in Africa] from a genetic mutation some time between 100,000 and 250,000 year ago (Crow 1997,2000, 2006, Corballis 2003) Fully syntactical language is arguably an essential requisite to share and transmit the symbolic meaning of beadworks and abstract engravings such as those from Blombos Cave [inhabited ± 75,000 years ago]." (Henshilwood et al. 2004)
Cradle of Language, South Africa ; Birdsong, Speech and Language. Converging Mechanisms, Utrecht,2007 An analysis of Middle Stone Age artefacts found at the Klasies River] show that by at least 115,000 years ago, people were able to think and speak symbolically. (Wurz 2000) Animal vocalizations led not to speech but to song (Nobuo Masataka, 2007)Nobuo Masataka Recursiveness in human language (Eric Reuland 2007) vs. Recursive vocal processing in birds and humans (Daniel Margoliash, 2007) Еmbedding. Syntax, Imitation, Quoting and Theory of Mind. (Chomsky, 2002; Fitch, 2007)
BUT ! - Talking apes… No genes for this However, its a fact and it is caused by education
Properties of Human language revealed in talking primates Conventional nomination and even word constuction Semantic syntax (in Vygotskys terms): Topic-Comment in 2- wordspharazes similar to human language development in small children Productivity Transferability ( speaking of objects out of sight). Cognitive maps
Properties of Human language revealed in talking primates Ability to use lexicograms NOW and THEN Cultural succession (they talk to each other using Amslang, theu teach their children and even other peaople Ability to use lexicograms YOURS and MINE and ability to recognize themselves in the mirror ( a feature of the ToM) Ability to plan a multi-step action and to foresee the consequence
Properties of Human language revealed in talking primates Metaphoric transfer - joking and cursing Ability to change roles in a dialogue Ability to use core syntax Ability to perceive oral human speech and to translate it to Amslang