News FocusEvolution of Language

Experiments Probe Language's Origins and Development

Science  27 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6080, pp. 408-411
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6080.408

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Summary

Recently, researchers studying the origins of language have gone into the field to study how songbirds learn to sing and into nurseries to observe the vocalizations and gestures of children for hints of how language may have emerged. Now researchers are testing their hypotheses under experimental conditions. The experiments, observations, and even some theorizing were on the agenda at the Evolang9 conference in Kyoto and a follow-up forum in Tokyo last month. By design, these meetings bring diverse views together to unravel questions not likely to be answered by work within one discipline.