The Origin of Language

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There has been considerable historical discourse over the nature of language. Most contend that thought and language are two interrelated criteria. Just how these criteria relate to the controversy over whether animals have language capabilities and even more specifically to the Sapir-Whorf human language thought debate, however, is not always clear. From a human context we know that language is a skill which allows us to communicate our thoughts to others and in so doing to attain desired "biological, cognitive, and social/behavioral feedback" (McDonnell, 1977). The question as to whether language is a skill that human beings are born with or whether it is a skill that is acquired is a complex one and not one in which all researchers are in agreement.
Neither are researchers in agreement about whether animals have the capability of language. To resolve these controversies we must look to both human and animal research.
The linguistic relativity theory known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis was developed by Benjamin Lee Whorf (a linguist and anthropologist) and Edward Sapir. The theory argues that language is a finite array of lexical and grammatical categories that group experiences into usable classes which vary across cultures but influence thought.
The theory maintains that a concept cannot be understood without an appropriate word for that concept. To explore this theory and the animal language controversy we must first accept that both animals and humans have the capacity for language. The next task then would be to determine whether that capacity is innate or acquired. A characteristic which is innate is an instinctual behavior and most often one which one was born with. An innate or instinctual behavior is often associated with an organism 's genetic propensity to behave or react in a certain way.
Innate language ability or our genetic makeup, under the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, would serve to limit the conceptual ability of an individual for



Bibliography: Grunwald, Lisa; Jeff Goldberg and Stacey Be. (1993, 1 Jul). Huba, M.E.; and S. Ramisetty-Mikler. (1995, 1 Sep). "The Language skills and concepts of early and non-early McConnell, James V. (1977). Understanding Human Behavior: "An Introduction to Psychology." Holt, Rinehart and Murray, Linda A. (1996, Feb 1). Social Interaction and the "Development of Language and Cognition." British Journal

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