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!


Clay said...

I know that I was talking to myself before I could actually speak.

I've mentioned on a couple of forums that my very first memory was of me lying in a baby carriage, in the middle of the living room and facing the dining room. There was a loud crash nearby, and my sisters and parents ran past me toward the front door, saying, "What happened, what happened?"

I was thinking, "What's a "happened?"

I'd say I was 6 to 8 months old at the time, and the crash was someone making a turn from our sidestreet onto a bigger street, and was hit.

My mother said I began speaking at 10 months. I can remember wanting to know what people were saying, and that wanting helped motivate me to understand.

Lili Marlene said...

10 months is fairly early for a boy to start speaking.

You have very detailed memories for so early in life. Unprompted I can't recall anything of my infant/toddler years.