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  • Subject area(s): English language essays
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Is language special feature to human being or it is feature among creatures? What is the language? How is it developed? What is its benefit?

These points will be reviewed in this article in aspects of language property by evolutionary perspective.

What is the language?

Language is a communication mean which transfers information between two points. Linguistic communication depends on mental images by transferring agreed signs among people who use the communication mean. Let’s imagine an ancient group of people who are living in an African environment and looking for food. Supposedly, individual of this group found an important food resource which is signed by sound “Hm Hm” and the danger’s sound is signed by “Boa Boa”. The ability of human creature by communication with the rest of his group that he found a food resource and he needed their help is something could determine the group’s destiny especially within limited resources environment. The benefit here is related to the individual who communicates with others without any extra efforts. He is going to get economic benefits just because if this communication. However, his clan is going to give him a hand for getting the food or protection of any danger.

“Hm Hm” and “Boa Boa”, these sounds are sufficient to convey important information between the members of the group. With the increased survival group task details, it required to invent more voices. This relationship between the members of the group are not new among the living creatures and we can find many types like that, for example, Raven bird has a kind of communication among other birds of the flock so that he can tell them about danger or food resource or croak sounds to communicate with other animals such as bears. Also, Dolphin uses some kind of communication sounds called sonar which is sound waves under water. These waves’ frequencies have different meanings. A new audio frequency has invented by some research studies which indicates sounds. These sounds stand for every dolphin and use names among other dolphins. Also if we dive deeply in the research field of deception among creatures, we can find a type of false communication is made for economic benefits or major survival earned. For example, when some types of mammals pretend death to prevent attacks from eagles, it is kind of deceptive communication. Sparrows tweet to proliferate or to alert the risk or to find food. Lions roar while danger or when other lions reach their flock area. Ants communicate through chemical secretions (pheromones) each has particular message.

So the idea is that the communication is not limited to humans, but what makes humans are unique is the linguistic voice communication came out of larynx. When you talk, your voice sends vibrations through air which is monitored by the ear and sent it to the brain to be analyzed as voices. These voices have specific mental images for sender and receiver.

The language in brain side

Language led to the development of human knowledge then cumulative knowledge began to reap results through technology innovation in addition to the tools that led to other discoveries such as the discovery of fire to the agricultural revolution and taming animals which is led to human transmission of a creature that lives in herds depend on hunting and picking fruits into farmer who is planting and developing tools in addition to taming the nature. This civilized development would never be happened without human ability to exchange information in fast and simple way so here we can talk about language in neurological terms.

The language is produced in brain by two parts; the send part and receive one. The first part is called Broca area which is responsible for formulating the language and spelling. It is located on the left brain side while the second part is called Wernicke area which is responsible for understanding the language, analyzing the linguistic signs and converting it to brain images. It is located on the right brain side near to temporal lobe [1], [2].

How were those areas known?

The language areas in brain were discovered when some people were injured in head area and lost the ability of speaking without losing the ability of understanding and vice versa. When scientists appointed their brain, they discovered and determined the main language both parts.

It is worth mentioning that the process of language in neurological cannot be irreducible in these two brain parts. There are other sections are linked together, and other sections analyze the context of the general language, body language, sound, and other stimuli which are affecting analysis process of linguistic messages.

Do we think using the language or we use the language while thinking?

Frankly, it is quite hard to answer this question because it is hard to have experiments on humans that prevent them to learn the language especially that learning language has very limited period of time in brain (from 2 to 8 years). Scientists have done some experiments which supply their theory that the language is not prerequisite for thinking processes which means we are able to think even without getting linguistic communication.

Children, for example, are able to think and build logical factors based on cause and effect in addition to other logical terms without the existence of linguistic factor yet. It means the linguistic grammars such as subject, verb and object are in human nature regardless that they learn any local language or not.

We know also that human can think using mental images, for instance, if you look into two different objects and wonder if they are the same shape. Here you do not use the language to think and solve the problem but you use the visual sense directly to get the result without even using language.

Another example, when brain sends any information to long-term memory, brain does not send it as linguistic words but it sends the meaning of these words regardless how could it be organized or ordered. When you read this article for instance, you will ask yourself what you have understood till now. You will not repeat the same words here as you have read but you will explain the general ideas in different way which leads to same result. This indicates that the idea itself is not words or language but the language is a mean to explain the idea. So, the ideas are now in your brain in very simple way than the language. It becomes knowledge regardless the linguistic style which is used here. You have received it by language but it is not stored as words but rather extracts thoughts [3], [4].

Human can be stored about 35000 words but these words need logical relations that connect each other. So, we can find thousands of words that you can express millions of ideas according to logical linking between each other. Here we focus on development of language in grammatical way.

Language and cultural development

Acoustic language consists of three main parts:

1. Different sounds among others called alphabets.

2. Formation of these sounds that symbolized things or thoughts out of physical setting.

3. Relations link group of sounds (words) within reason that produces time and space meanings called linguistic grammars. For example, verb requires subject in certain time.

Brain mechanisms are instinctive mechanisms that allow the existence of language but how is the language developed as words and grammar? Why are there more than 6500 languages in the world? [5]

Language development is like a dynamic development process and is also subject to selective pressures and lots are extinct. We consider that we have thousands of languages on the planet, but in reality this explanation is not correct and it is purely taxonomic characterization. We do not have any real standard that allows us to compare and say through this language begins from this point and ends at this point. For example, it is not clear where English language has begun and where it has end. That goes back to basic fact that all languages on planet are branches of one human language. The human civilization has started from the African continent. Then, language was launched and began to spread. Prevalence and geographic separations made the development of languages is unique and different, but in fact, when we go deep into the roots of languages, we will find many junctions between its vocabularies and grammars in addition to many changes that affected by geographical and cultural factors that related to the place of language development.

There are many global linguistic branches such as Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic. Those two branches contain languages such as English, Arabic, Chinese and many other languages we have nowadays. For instance, Arabic language is development of Asian-African languages within the mother language, Siamese.

Siamese language is considered to be extinct over 4000 BCE. There are many branches that are derivate from the mother language Siamese such as Hebrew, Arabic, Amharic, Tigrinya that is used in Eritrea and Aramaic that is used for writing the religious scripts related to Jewish (Talmudic) and Christianity.

Anyways, language research is deep and different one that I could convey in this article but the most that we could talk about Siamese languages are characterized by words’ root. Arabic for instance, has roots for most of its vocabularies that consist of three characters. Collecting these characters in different way may give many meanings. For instance, the root (كتب, kataba, to write) may derivate many words from this root such as:

” كتَبَ، = kataba, to write

” كتاب، = kitab, book

” كاتِب، = kateb, writer

” مكتوب، = maktoob, letter

” مكتبة، = maktaba, library

” كاتِبة، = katebah, female writer

” كُتيّب، = kutayb, guide book

” مكتب، = maktab, office

” كتابة = kitabah, writing

This linguistic feature is derivate from the mother language, Siamese [6], [7].

Linguistic grammar is instinctive one that differentiates from grammar related to language as academic form. Many times, we find that grammar is not logical but its rules are developed for social and cultural reasons but not necessarily formed for any logical reason [7].

Human brain is instinctively ready to achieve any language. The process of learning language through childhood is like when you are installing software on computer. For instance, learning a language like Arabic is linguistic type which is built by instinctive type that exists in human brain. But that could not prevent the child of communicate effectively before he learns all grammatical syntax. That indicates the grammar is just instinctive grammar which is built and developed later on within grammatical type related to language itself.

When kids talk, they are able to communicate without even leaning the correct grammatical syntax. Probably kid might say, “Mam Want Water”. This is logical instinctive form regardless the used language. Language might build out of this form then it uses it according to grammar. Example of grammatical instinctive, when we start sentence using “either”, we need to use “or” because we are comparing tow things. This rule is instinctive rule which is made by human to explain his/her sentence [2].

When we are talking about an action, we need to indicate time and place for the action even if it is implied which means action happened in past or will happen in future. The rule here is instinctive grammar far away from the used language, which is because the rule reflexes physical form related to human view because time and place are important elements in describing any action.

Also we could find grammatical differences concerning pronouns or order of verb, subject and object but there is no way to express without these elements. Their order is different among languages without affecting of linguistic logical instinct. Human is able to learn many languages that host different grammatical order without facing any difficulty by shifting from language to another.

Some examples, we will indicate to verb by V, subject by S and object by O. let study these two examples between Arabic and Chinese.


كتب مروان مقالًا = wrote Marwan an article (In Arabic we write from right to left)

V + S + O = VSO


???? ?? = Marwan wrote an article

S + V + O = SVO

If we have closer look to grammar in all languages, we will find that they are illogical but they are developed by social reasons but not by instinctive ones. English for example has many words that you cannot make plural such as sheep or fish. Why could not we make it plural? It is not because there are not many fish in nature but because this rule has developed for certain reasons. These reasons are not instinctive ones but because of social reasons that are related to development to this language [7]. The story of development of all languages in the world tells a lot about history of development of human civilization. Today, there are more than 6500 languages. Those languages are changeable, so we can new languages or disappearing of old ones [8].

Learning language in brain

There is limited time to acquire a language because of mechanism of brain development. The maximum age to acquire and understand language is age of 8 which the process becomes harder and harder after this limitation of time.

There are two examples of kids that they did not learn the language during the time of acquiring language. The first story was for kid called Victor from France who lived in eighteen centuries. He appeared in some farms in France to steal some food and escape at night till he was captured. They tried to teach him French but he could not. That was because of weakness of his mental abilities. The second story was for a girl who lived in a room in California in nineties of the last century. She did not manage to acquire language. Scientists checked her and tried to teach her the language but all their tries were in vain. The girl could not develop the language feature because of weakness of her mental abilities. Meanwhile, the reason behind was still mysterious. Is that because of losing the ability to acquire language? Is it because the incorrect way of communication since childhood? For moral reasons, Researchers are not able to have experiments on humans who did not achieve any language. There are many tragedy experiments happened before. Scientists got a lot of important results in this field [4].

Communication among creatures

There are many documentary movies about how chimpanzee and gorilla learn the language abilities and get tens of words in addition to their ability to use these words within logical context that send information to others. The problem here for these animals is that disability of development of their throats in a way that allow them to produce irregular exhalation so they do not have the flexibility speech as humans.

Another experiment is made to Bonobo (the earliest ape to human). The ape is called “Kanzi”, Bonobo was able to learn more than 300 in addition to ability to link these words logically [9]. If we consider that the language is mechanisms of communication and sending information between two brains in general, the language will be a feature that spread among many other creatures in different ways. Here are some examples.

Raven is able to transfer information for generation and has a lot of croak sounds. Each croak has certain different message. For instance, raven has croak sound means there is a cat or croak sound means there is a human or croak sound means there is an eagle or other hunting birds. These croaks have two kinds; one is the general croak which we hear every day “cr-r-ruck” while the other sound is like pigeons. Ravens use the second sound to communicate with flock. Ravens can send information during their communication means which means they are able to transfer information for many generations. This is considered to be the first sign of equipment and cultural development [10], [11].

Dolphin: each Dolphin has a name which is different from others. They are able to communicate in complex way, learn sign language and linguistic and logical differentiation. For example, bring X to Y or bring Y to X if we consume that we have water ball and water polo game. Dolphin can differentiate if we ask him to bring the ball from water polo or vice versa.

African grey parrot has the ability to link three words within logical speech context in addition to using more words that parrots use to get positive motivations [12].

Elephants’ intelligence and the ability to recognize their-selves make him elected and unique to develop more communication means especially if they are living with herds. We have many evidences indicate that elephants’ cumulative knowledge pass through generations.

Concerning communication, communication is simply the process of transferring information between two sides. By this general definition, the communication is spread among all creatures but it differs from one to another. For example, Frog plumps its body to give communicative way with enemy that its body is bigger than normal. Other planets blow chemical components through air to send different messages to different creatures according to current situation. Octopus changes its colour and camouflage to send false information about their existence areas.


Human language is the most complex communication means known by science because of the ability to send mental images among creatures. When we watch science fiction movies such as telepathy (brains communications) then we wonder about the future development of this ability to humans but in fact, we use telepathy all time when we produce some frequency exhalation that are translated to mental images. Telepathy should be built on physical transformation mean such as Sound waves or electromagnetic ones. All in all, we live in a universal system full of information so each person is able to exchange information will increase his chances to survive.


[1] The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, “posterior speech area; Wernicke area”, Encyclopedia Britannica. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[2] The University of Maryland’s Langscape project, “provides interactive maps and linguistic data for 7,000 languages around the world”, [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[3] M. Gretchen, “What Happens if a Child Is Never Exposed to Language?”, Slate Magazine, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[4] S. Alsanian, “Researchers Still Learning from Romania’s Orphans”,, 2006. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 16- Jul- 2016].

[5] S. Anderson, “How many languages are there in the world? | Linguistic Society of America”, [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[6] B. Brian, “A History of the Arabic Language”,, 1998. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[7] J. McWhorter, “Story of Human Language”, The great Courses. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[8] S. Pinker, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1994.

[9] R. Paul, “Speaking Bonobo”,, 2006. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[10] S. Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York: Viking, 2002, p. 257.

[11] S. Milius, “When Birds Go to Town”, Science News, 2011. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

[12]”Parrot Learning”, AAA Science NetLinks. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15- Jul- 2016].

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