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When was talking invented? A language scientist explains this unique feature of human beings

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By Richard Futrell

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Very interesting and graphic way to describe the two theories about how spoken language came to be, I have always guessed something along the first option (simple sound becoming speech) but the second option (sign language becoming speech) also seems logical and natural to have.

It would be very interesting if someone came up with a method to investigate which of these two theories is correct, but it seems like a terribly difficult task.

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When the aliens first landed and gave us classes.

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Is there an evolutionary side to this? I'm wondering if all humans were physically capable of speech if they tried, or were some more capable than others. A person that could shout "Mhhhaahh behind you!" compared to one who could just shout "Mhhhaahh mhhhaahh". I imagine the former type (and their clan) would be more likely to survive, and pass on the physical trait to their offspring.

Eventually these gestures turned into a full sign language.

I've read of one theory that suggests that sign language became less useful as humans carried more things in their hands (e.g. tools and weapons).

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Am not sure how it fits into the conversation, but I have read that gorillas and chimpanzees have been taught how to use sign language. So, they can't vocalize, but they can converse with hand signs. That seems significant, and suggests that our ability to communicate predates our ability to speak with words.

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