The majority of us speak at least one language, and if you are visiting this blog you are probably interested in learning another, but where did language come from? The Week has posted an interesting article explaining some of the numerous theories that have been used to explain the great mystery. Of course all of the theories are purely hypothetical as empirical research cannot be undertaken in order to prove them. The secret of where language came from is lost within history but it is still, nevertheless, interesting to muse on the topic. Two of the theories can be found below, each with their own rather unscientific nickname.

The Pooh-Pooh Theory
The idea that speech comes from the automatic vocal responses to pain, fear, surprise, or other emotions: a laugh, a shriek, a gasp. But plenty of animals make these kinds of sounds too, and they didn’t end up with language.

The Ta-Ta Theory 
The idea that speech came from the use of tongue and mouth gestures to mimic manual gestures. For example, saying ta-ta is like waving goodbye with your tongue. But most of the things we talk about do not have characteristic gestures associated with them, much less gestures you can imitate with the tongue and mouth.

As you can see from the above examples, the theories are hardly exhaustive. According to the article, persistent speculation about the origins of language caused the Paris Linguistic Society to ban discussion of the topic when it was founded in 1866. It is highly improbable that we will ever truly know how language came into existence but this is true of many intriguing question and doesn’t make musing on the topic any less fascinating.

via: The Week