New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
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02-06-2012, 11:19 AM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2012 12:18 AM by ghostexorcist.)
New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
From http://primatology.net/2012/06/01/new-in...an-speech/

Quote:It had been suggested that the complexities of the vocal range allowing us to speak were due to mechanisms developed exclusively during the evolution of the hominids. Others suggested that it is the Monkey coos and howls, and the Chimpanzee hoots which provide the foundations of human speech development. Morrill and colleagues recently published an idea different to both of these previous understandings.

Lip-smacking behaviour has been understood for many years as a powerful communicator among many primate species. X-rays of these behaviours in macaque monkeys showed that athough there are no any audible accompaniments to lipsmacking (an obvious ‘biggy’ when talking about the evolution of speech), the coordination of the lips, jaw, tongue and hyoid are actually extremely similar to the mechanisms allowing us to speak. Even with this lack of phonation (apart from very quiet sound as a product the actions) from an evolutionary perspective it is now thought that these facial communicators are more comparable to human speech then that of many actual primate vocalisations.

When looking at our ape cousins, raspberries and loud lip-smacks of chimpanzees are more under voluntary control and are often learned – this is unlike hoots which are an innate ability. This is comparable to speech in humans as an ability learned as the product of culture.

[An example of Lipsmaking. The video does not have sound]





Morrill, R. J., Paukner, A., Ferrari, P. F. and Ghazanfar, A. A. (2012),
Monkey lipsmacking develops like the human speech rhythm. Developmental Science. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01149.x
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02-06-2012, 11:26 AM
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
Here is the link to an older article on speech:

http://primatology.net/2011/03/16/the-se...xperiment/

This video explains the experiment:



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16-07-2012, 02:24 PM (This post was last modified: 16-07-2012 02:54 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
I am currently reading Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees (1997) by Prof. Roger Fouts. He mentions past researchers discovered that it was far more effective to teach Chimps American Sign Language than to get them to speak because they are relatively quiet animals. Yes, they do grunt (for supplication or food) and scream occasionally (as a warning or sign of anxiety), but they mostly communicate through visual and tactile cues like facial expressions, hand and body gestures, and bodily contact. Prof. Fouts recognized this duality in communication in autistic children. They often had problems reconciling the visual and auditory stimuli in their environments. He then became one of the first individuals to use sign language in an attempt to help them communicate. This helped severely autistic children go from screaming, performing nonsensical repetitive behavior, and avoiding eye and bodily contact to communicating through sign, focusing, and seeking eye and bodily contact. The most amazing thing is that some of these children even began to speak, something they were unable to do before.

This fact greatly puzzled him for some time. Then he met a Neurologist named Dr. Noreen Kimura in Canada whose research involved the study of Aphasia, a disorder where people lose the ability to speak via damage to the brain. She told him that the area of the brain that handles speech also has a part in controlling detailed hand movement. She told him that, in the course of her study, she noticed how people made “sympathetic movements with their tongues” while doing something requiring lots of concentration like threading a needle. (Have you ever noticed how you do silly things with your tongue while trying to concentrate? One example I can give is how my niece opens her mouth and sticks out her tongue why trying to put on mascara in the morning.) This discussion helped Prof. Fouts to realize that both signing and speaking with the tongue were simply a series of gestures--as the tongue stops in different areas of the mouth to make sounds in the same way that hands stop at different areas of the body to make a sign. Therefore, gaining control over their hand movements somehow enabled these autistic children to regain control over their tongues.

Fouts mentions that this discovery helped support the hypothesis of one anthropologist who had posited years earlier that our ancient ancestors had communicated with their hands before we gained the ability to speak. I had actually read about this before in a book by Nicholas Wade called Before the Dawn (2006). Wade mentions a study on a British family with a gene mutation in the brain that makes it hard to speak because it affects the movement of their tongues. It also made it hard for them to write with their hands. The mutated gene was located in the same area of the brain as that for autism. People who can speak all have a healthy variant of the gene. Researchers have suggested that this gene for speaking arose around 50,000 years ago because the explosion in human advances from this time probably resulted from language. Anyways, Fouts’ discussion of the similarities between chimps and autistic children helped me to better understand the subject.

How would we communicate ideas in such a way? Fouts writes the following (click to expand):

Quote:But experts in sign language, who assume a gestural origin for language, can explain the emergence of syntax in a much simpler, more commonsense way. You can test it yourself right now by following this suggestion of David Armstrong, William Stokoe, and Sherman Wilcox from their book, Gesture and the Nature of Language:

Quote:If you will, swing your right hand across in front of your body and catch the upraised forefinger of your left hand.”

By enacting this gesture, say the authors, you have just illustrated the most primitive form of syntax.

Quote:The dominant hand is the agent (it acts), its swinging grasp is the action (verb), and the stationary finger is the patient or object. The grammarians’ symbolic notion for this is familiar: SVO [subject-verb-object].

It is easy to imagine our earliest ancestors using this gesture to communicate [using the hand signs], HAWK CAUGHT GOPHER. And they might have modified this sentence with adjectives (two fingers for two gophers) and adverbs (raised eyebrows for expressing disbelief: HAWK SOMEHOW CAUGHT GOPHER). These variations on a relationship are the beginnings of language as we know it.
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17-07-2012, 03:52 PM
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
Prof. Fouts points out that children embody the very process of language evolution. They are unable to talk when they are babies because their vocal cords are too high in their throats, just like primates. As infants, they begin communicating by gesturing with their hands. Their hand-eye motor skills improve as does their intelligable sounds. As their vocal cords descend, toddlers use gestures to compliment any words they may use. By the time that they are preadolescents, spoken language is their dominant mode of expression, but they will continue to talk with their hands for the rest of their lives.
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23-07-2012, 02:29 AM
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
Quote:Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000) was an American philosopher, psychonaut, researcher, teacher, lecturer and writer on many subjects, such as human consciousness, language, psychedelic drugs, the evolution of civilizations, the origin and end of the universe, alchemy, and extraterrestrial beings.

Food of the Gods, a book by Terence Kemp McKenna.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terence_McK..._evolution

His theory is that human speech has evolved thanks to first shamans and the discovery of the psychedelic mushrooms.

...........

There are theories about how cannabis was responsible for the development of human speech as well, as it gave new and unimaginable ideas and perceptions to people, pretty similar as the mushrooms...

Be sure to search for all these theories if you want to search for the origins of human language...

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I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
-Hunter S. Thompson
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09-09-2012, 02:03 PM
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
I don't take much stock in the drug theories. Though interesting, there are other more natural explanations for the origin of language.

http://www.stirlingobserver.co.uk/stirli...-31381953/

Quote: Stirling study into chimps reveals human link

CHIMPANZEES could communicate with as many as ten of the same gestures used by humans, a study conducted by the University of Stirling has found.

Locally-based postgraduate researcher, Dr Anna Roberts, identified between 20 and 30 manual gestures used by a community of wild chimpanzees, which they used for a range of activities – including nursing, feeding, sex, aggression and defence.

This is by no means new for anyone who has read up on the subject, but it is still neat. I didn't notice this when it came out in July. I'm in the process of getting the paper now.
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29-10-2013, 11:47 AM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2013 12:59 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
I learned something that others may find interesting. The shape of the skull actually affects the vocal anatomy in both humans and chimps. Chimps have a skull that is longer (front to back) than humans. Our skulls are more compact, creating a type of flexion between the maxilla (upper teeth) and the base around the foramen magnum (the hole the spinal cord goes into). This flexion creates a larger space to house our vocal anatomy at the back of the throat than chimps. As you can see from the following picture, chimps have a much smaller space between their velum and epiglottis than we do. This means that they are only able to produce vowel sounds with their lips. We, on the other hand, have a much larger space, which allows us to wrap our vowels in consonants to create extra meaning.

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30-10-2013, 02:08 AM
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
Human speech (as far as science has studied) is nothing related to animal sounds.

I can choose which sounds to interpret as differently, but sat for any other speices as far as we can tell, they cannot. I can choose which sounds to accept as slang, dialect etc. I can also choose to question those sounds (words) and form new theories about what those words mean, this process has nothing to do with animal sounds.

Next

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30-10-2013, 06:02 AM
RE: New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
(30-10-2013 02:08 AM)I and I Wrote:  ...
this process has nothing to do with animal sounds.

Urrrggggghhhhh!

Grrrrrr!

Drinking Beverage

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30-10-2013, 06:55 AM
New Insight Into the Evo of Human Speech
(30-10-2013 06:02 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(30-10-2013 02:08 AM)I and I Wrote:  ...
this process has nothing to do with animal sounds.

Urrrggggghhhhh!

Grrrrrr!

Drinking Beverage

Yep
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