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The Evolution of Language by William Foley
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The article “The Evolution of Language” was written by William Foley in 1997. It talks about the evolution of people since the time they were chimpanzees and the efforts which they have made to become the sophisticated creatures that they are today. One of the most developmental features is their brain size. It is said that this characteristic has increased massively over the years. People have become more intelligent than their counterparts such as the chimpanzees and the monkeys. It is important to note that the differences in the brain size of the former have enabled them to be differentiated from their forerunners. Some of the variations between the man and the other apes include the fact that while people are able to walk on their two feet, the rest of the species walk on four legs. The human beings tend to be monogamous for recreational purposes while the apes do not exactly have a defined culture of copulation. The brain size of the man is larger than that of the ape. The human beings have a defined way of speaking with each other. They communicate through the set of words which is learnt from the infant stage. Apes, in their turn, interact through sounds although they are not exactly defined. The differences in the brain sizes have brought about the variations in the developmental stages.
The article offers a very clear picture of the distinctions between the two species. The monkeys and the humans come from the same origin. They even look alike just with some differences. For instance, they both are mammals and can walk on two legs as they wish even though the legs of the man are more defined and developed. Additionally, monkeys and chimpanzees can be said to be more intelligent than most animals. A research was carried out and it was established that the skulls of the first human beings resembled those of the monkeys and chimpanzees. It is due to this reason that it was deduced that the man originated from the apes. As the years went by, the human being was forced to make some adjustments in his/her living conditions in order to make life comfortable; hence, the inventions of the Stone Age period are signified by fire. One of the major weaknesses of the article is that it fails to address the issue of why some apes did not evolve. It is not clear whether those of them that developed into human beings had different features or some special conditions; it remains unclear why some evolved while others did not.
The article advances our understanding of language by establishing that the human’s brain has been developing from over two million years. The brain of the man has been increasing in size and, therefore, became able to accommodate more information and language. As people became more developed, a need for understanding arose and hence the need for a common language. The man became a complex being and started comprehending things that could not be understood by other species. Additionally, the human beings not only developed linguistically but also in other areas, and started to invent things such as fire and even began living in various communities. As the brain size of the man was increasing, his neurons began to function more effectively leading to the specialization of the different parts of the brain. Language is said to be processed in its right side. As the brain increased in size, so did the capacity for language comprehension. The article also talks about the differences between speech and language where every human being is pre-determined to acquire speech from the time he/she was born and pre-disposed to acquire the same language. The latter can be said to have the physical representation and can be written in terms of pictures and symbols while the former, on the other hand, is anything that is used to communicate. For instance, sign language could be said to be a form of speech. People have come a long way to having a language through which they can communicate effectively. In the beginning, the human beings could only interact through the use of sounds, and through the increase in brain size they evolved to create a comprehensive language.