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Evolution of Language
Tashina Nadjiwon
What is language?
Language is thought to be a mechanism
for transmitting information within thoughts
Allows us to apply common grounds
Powerful tool for social animals
Language and the Brain
Lieberman believes that many aspects of
language are performed by areas of the
brain using more general cognitive and
learning abilities
In absence of language, inner forces
overpower us to create a new language
May have culturally evolved
It is a desire to communicate with each
other
Brain has distinctive areas for processing
of information
Language was built on top of existing
cognitive structure
Genetic variation affects language ability
Speech
Phillip Lieberman: larynx descended into
the throat
This improved the ability to make vowel
sounds
Lieberman’s argument is strictly
evolutionary
Humans are more susceptible to choke
Still, Lieberman’s theory is correct
Hand to Mouth
First you need a desire to communicate
before you have speech
Requires a coordinated transmitter and an
attentive receiver
Giacomo Rizzolatti
Mirror cells
The cells might allow an animal to mimic a
motion that it sees another animal perform
in order to obtain food
Rizzolatti has suggested that F5
corresponds to Broca's area in the human
brain
Interesting hypothesis
Complex motor control area was adapted
McGurk Effect
 we obtain speech information visually
Conclusion
Desire to communicate is strong in
humans
Language provides us with a powerful tool
Natural selection plays an important role
Language has marked a turning point
The End
Questions?