Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Language in Our BrainThe Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Angela D. Friederici

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036924

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036924.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Evolution of Language

Evolution of Language

(p.203) 7 Evolution of Language
Language in Our Brain

Angela D. Friederici

Noam Chomsky

The MIT Press

The past and current views of language evolution all center around a crucial question: What led to the human faculty of language and can it be explained by continuity of phylogenesis from non-human to human primates? The view that is presented here holds that the difference between human and non-human primates lies in the structure of their brains, particularly in the way the relevant brain areas are connected by white matter fiber tracts. During the evolution of language two crucial abilities had to evolve: these are first, sensory-motor learning, and second, the ability to process hierarchical structures. Across-species comparisons between the human and non-human primate brain reveal cytoarchitectonic and connectivity differences. Although still under discussion, the available paleoanthropological findings suggest a reorganization of the brain during phylogeny, and a possible rewiring which, due to the prolonged ontogeny in humans, is shaped by environmental input.

Keywords:   language evolution, phylogeny, paleoanthropology, non-human primates, sensory-motor learning, evolutionary step, cytoarchitectonics, environmental input

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.