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Africa, The Origin of Language

 

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The first words by humans were spoken by Africans.

”Using statistical methods to estimate the time required to achieve the current spread and diversity in modern languages today, Johanna Nichols — a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley — argues that vocal language must have arisen in our species at least 100,000 years ago. Using phonemic diversity, a more recent analysis offers directly linguistic support for a similar date. Estimates of this kind are independently supported by genetic, archaeological, palaeontological and much other evidence suggesting that language probably emerged somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa during the Middle Stone Age, roughly contemporaneous with the speciation of Homo sapiens.”

The origin of language in the human species has been the topic of scholarly discussions for several centuries. In spite of this, there is no consensus on the ultimate origin or age of human language. One problem makes the topic difficult to study: the lack of direct evidence. Consequently, scholars wishing to study the origins of language must draw inferences from other kinds of evidence such as the fossil record, archaeological evidence, contemporary language diversity, studies of language acquisition, and comparisons between human language and systems of communication existing among other animals (particularly other primates). Many argue that the origins of language probably relate closely to the origins of modern human behavior, but there is little agreement about the implications and directionality of this connection.

 

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