Posted by: lyonenglishnetwork | March 31, 2010

How do we talk ?

A recent bbc two programme investigates the subject of “how do we talk ?”

Here’s the trailer:



  1. It may not suprise the more chauvanistic reader that it was women who set us all off nattering. Anyway, such is the conclusion by female author Dean Falk (2009), who states that with the development of the prehensile thumb, consequent advances in fine-motor skills enabled more skilled handling of ‘tools’ and as a result, women working with tools needed to set their babies down to get on with their tasks. This freaked the babies out. Women thus learnt to shush and sooth the babies with baby-talk (‘motherese’). This, Dean Falk characterizes as being ‘musical, high-pitched, slow, exaggerated and pleasing’. Thus, apparently, appeared proto-language. Initially it had a highly emotional (right brain) content for it evolved out of animal calls. Later, to pass on their tool-handling skills to older children, instruction-giving (left brain) evolved necessitating the development of more complex speech. This became possible as physiological morphology around the throat and palate evolved facilitating a wider range of sounds. Musical transmission of emotional content and ‘meaning’ transfer through differentiated symbolic sounds, then merged. Hence, languages today are a blend of right and left brains working together in conjunction.

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