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We do not know how the first people learn to communicate with language. Linguists, who are specialists in language, study the matter seriously, but still have too little knowledge of prehistoric people. But they have not kept others from speculating on the origin of language. Defenders of the “bow wow” theory claimed that our ancestors began speaking by imitating the sounds of animals. According to them, humans walked out of the primordial mist and began barking like dogs, howling like wolves, chirping like birds and clucking like chickens. Others who put their faith in the “pooh pooh” theory, held that language derived from instinctive cries. That is, when old grandfather Og was tired of hunting and walked into the cave one day, he stubbed his toe on a rock and cried out “ow”! Of course, if your prehistoric grandfather lived in England, he probably muttered “tut!” The “ding dong” theorists related language origins to a mystic harmony between sound and sense. According to them, primitive humans had a peculiar facility to know that a rock should be called a rock. After all, as bells ring, rocks give off “rockiness.” Yet “yo heave ho” theorists believed that language derived from the sounds emitted during labor. They supposed that prehistoric people began speaking when they grunted and groaned over their daily tasks. However there is a basic fallacy that humans remained mute until they “created” language. In other words, they had organs for speech before they found a use for them. However biologists know that organs are not already perfected at their first use in the evolution of species. On the contrary, use develops organs. We may never know how humans began to speak. But we can be sure that humans didn’t learn to speak by saying “bow wow,” “pooh pooh,” “ding dong” or “yo heave ho.”
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