Provide a copy/image of your research notes. What concepts in your learning do you now feel you have a solid grasp on? Which ones might be useful to other students in their learning?

I have a solid grasp on the three major sections that the language origin theories. I think it is useful for other peers to know of what they are! That the origin of language is divided into the religious lens, the scientific theory lens, and the onomatopoeia theories. The following is a copy paste of some of the notes I have.


Main research source:

(Article written by Edward Vadja, linguistic prof at Western Washington Uni)


There are many different theories that attempt to answer where the true origin of language is. Some of the most widely acclaimed three are:

    • The belief in divine creation: Religious views. Genesis 2:20 in the bible states that Adam gave names to all of the living organisms on earth, which meant that all humans are given the inherent ability to speak and communicate with language (this then connects to the Tower of Babel, which is a religious theory explaining language diversity. Read ).
      • “ It can’t be proven that language is as old as humans, but it is definitely true that language and human society are inseparable.  Wherever humans exist language exists.“


  • The Belief in Natural Evolution: An evolutionary theory that promotes that Language Acquisition Device Theory. The Language acquisition device theory suggests that “The Language Acquisition Device is a hypothetical module of the human mind. […] Its concept is an instinctive mental capacity which enables an infant to acquire and produce language.`(Wikipedia:




  • Invention Hypotheses: There are many of these. Invention hypotheses suggest that the origin of language was invented consciously as a human invention.

The definitions below are from the link above.


    • The Ding-Dong Hypothesis: bases the origins of language on onomatopoeia. This idea states that language began when humans started naming objects after a relevant sound that was already involved in their everyday life. Examples include words such as “boom,” “crash,” and “oink.”
      • Onomotopoeia (Google definition: the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g., cuckoo, sizzle ) the use of onomatopoeia for rhetorical effect.)
    • The Pooh-Pooh Hypothesis: holds true to the involuntary nature of human speech. Through emotional response, language and speech would have developed in tandem with human interaction and primitive emotional reactions. Such sounds as “wa wa wa” or “ha ha ha,” commonly used to denote crying or pain and happiness or laughter.
    • The Bow-Wow Hypothesis:  the idea that human language and vocabulary originated as a form of imitation. It is said that language came from the imitation of animal sounds.
    • The Ta-Ta Hypothesis: states that language and the development of sound were generated to support the hand gestures and movements of the individual. So as to better demonstrate the meaning behind the gestures, these sounds progressed into more and more distinct words or combinations of sounds inevitably leading to speech patterns.
    • The Warning Hypothesis: Language may have evolved from warning signals such as those used by animals.  Perhaps language started with a warning to others, such as Lookout, Run, or Help to alert members of the tribe when some lumbering beast was approaching.
    • The Yo-He-Ho hypothesis: Language developed on the basis of human cooperative efforts.
    •   The earliest language was chanting to simulate collective effort, whether moving great stones to block off cave entrances from roving carnivores or repeating warlike phrases to inflame the fighting spirit.
    • The Lying Hypothesis: E. H. Sturtevant argued that, since all real intentions or emotions get involuntarily expressed by gesture, look or sound, voluntary communication must have been invented for the purpose of lying or deceiving.  He proposed that the need to deceive and lie–to use language in contrast to reality for selfish ends– was the social prompting that got language started.

None of the hypotheses have been scientifically proven; All theories depicting the origin of language are not proven in any way. These are theories, not certain explanations that answer the origin of language. The three that I noted today are the most commonly known theories that try to explain.


A cool concept: Proto-Language. A hypothetical undocumented parent language from which actual languages are derived.

There are a few languages that are thought to be the Proto-Language, but the most commonly believed is the Proto-Indo-European Language.

This infographic shows the origin of each language. Note that the root of the tree is marked Indo-European.




Ted talk summary: Psychologist and author Michael Corballis thinks that language development is closely related to gesture, which made its advances in humans when evolution progressed enough that humans became bipedal.


More notes:

To be done

(Gleneagle database link)

-go to literary references, and then search “Origin of Language”

-Click on academic journal titled “On the origin of language”

On the Origin of Language, Halpern, Mark. Vocabula Review, Jul2011, Vol. 13 Issue 7, p1-15, 15p. (Article)
Abstract: The article discusses the origin and historical development of language.


Above is an article from the Gleneagle Database that talks about the origin of language. Note how the article depicts the topic’s answer/end as “an end without conclusion”


Really useful resource:

The linguistic society of the USA has a little different input on the origins of language. They talk about gene mutations and whatnot, it’s worthwhile to look into.


Another resource I found today:

This talks about a reserach done by a professor in Auckland…look through it.