Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Lili's thought for the day
Can autistic behaviours tell us something important about the origins of human spoken language? I've had a short discussion on the subject of ancient hominids today, as you do, and a thought came to mind. Some experts believe the thing that brought about the sudden leap from hominid type creatures to human type creatures could be spoken language. But how did spoken language start? There are many theories floating about, no doubt. I think there is one involving synaesthesia. Could autism give a clue as to how or why hominids started speaking? Obviously the basic anatomy is needed, but that doesn't evolve into anything fancy without already having some basic utility, so what started the process? Do we need to ask the question of why would a hominid start talking, in the absence of an established culture of talking and language? Wouldn't this be rather like talking to one's self? That's a bit eccentric, isn't it? Autistic people do this. Why do autistic people do this? Go ask and autistic person. So were the first hominid speakers a bit autistic? Now that's a novel thought!