The whole purpose of language is to communicate. We like to think of ourselves as language experts because we teach reading and grammar; however, the ultimate purpose of language is to interact and communicate ideas, feelings, directions, etc. Having good grammar and prose are important, but the substance that we communicate is just as important. The origin of language is a subject that evokes many opinions based on limited data. I say limited because to study the origin of language requires studying pre-history—before writing. Since studying a period so long ago is challenging due to the lack of empirical evidence, we can only draw general inferences based on linguistic anthropological research of fossils, artifacts, and other clues (Stam, 1976). There is evidence that the earliest people did not have a written language. Cave art and other sketches suggest that they communicated with a set of symbols and pictures. Since many people from pre-historic times had such an array of communicational methods, we can assume that there was no singular origin of language that we can verify. Even today, there are several languages and customary ways that different people communicate. Language continues to shape and shift, and they are impacted by culture and the mediums in which we communicate. Whether it was cuneiform, hieroglyphics, or the English language, I believe we were designed to come up with our own ways of communication. Even non-verbal ques are ways in which we can communicate. Perhaps God created us to have the ability to adapt and conform to our situations and specific needs. There are many interesting theories as to how people first began to communicate—even though much of it is speculation. The most interesting theory that makes sense to me is the “mother tongues” hypothesis. The “mother tongues” hypothesis was first proposed by W. Tecumseh Fitch in 2004 (Fitch, 2004). According to Fitch, the first language acquisition was between mothers and their newborn children. Through nurturing, soothing, and other means of communication, a language between two beings coincided. (Fitch, 2004). This eventually evolved into more complex communication and language as the child grew. One could argue that that theory wouldn’t explain distant relatives; however, if we started with just one person or a few, it could be a legitimate theory. Regardless of how or when language first developed, it is imperative to understand that the purpose of language is to communicate. Grammar and mechanics are important, but the substance of what is being communicated is just as important.ReferencesFitch, W.T. (2004). Kin Selection and “mother tongues”: a neglected component in language evolution.Evolution of Communication Systems,275- 296.Stam, J.H. (1976).Inquiries into the origins of language. New York: Harper and Row, p.255.

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