ohma0062: January 2012 Archives

Chapter 8 begins with a conversation between two people. With even a simple exchange, language is shown to be uniquely human. Unlike animal communication, humans have large brains that allow for things discussed in this chapter including syntax, extralinguistis information, dialects, and much more. As humans, we use language everyday to express thoughts and reasoning.
As language is very complex, it is very difficult to pin pint the origin. Only guesses can made as to why and how humans began to speak cognitively. One of the interesting parts of this chapter was the theory about how language came about. I found it unusual that the book assumed an evolutionary belief in its explanation of how language came about. They argue that the larger brain which enabled early humans to think enhanced survival because the social life and organization became more important. However, the book mentions that the mixes of words that reflect their meanings are puzzling because, on one side, arbitrarily related words seem like "unintuitive 'design feature'(s)." Another interesting part of this chapter was the exploration of how children learn language. I found it intriguing the capacity children have to learn such a complex skill.

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