Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article presents several factors related to the evolution of vocal and phonetic behaviors thus discussing the emergence of symbolization and reference. Evolutionary theories must identify the environmental changes that produced phenotypic variation and the modes of selection that reinforced certain of the variants, thereby increasing reproductive success, and they must specify the developmental stages in which these actions took place. The primary task of evolutionary theorists is to identify the environmental changes, and the responses to those changes, that edged our ancestors closer to the linguistic capacity possessed by modern humans. A new paradigm, evolutionary developmental linguistics (EDL), a naturalization of human language, is concerned with the evolution of developmental properties, processes, and stages that independently, or in concert with other environmental changes, facilitated the emergence of language in the species. Modern humans have four developmental stages that include infancy, childhood, juvenility, and adolescence. Much of the linguistically relevant phenotypic variation originated in ancestral infancies, with selection by parents occurring in this stage, and, with persistence of selected behaviors, in later stages by peers and others. Juvenility provides additional time for the brain growth and learning required for reproductive success in various species of mammals. The modification of juvenility would naturally increase phenotypic variability and offer new bases for selection at a time when greater independence and sexual maturity were rapidly approaching.

Keywords: phonetic behavior, symbolization, evolutionary developmental linguistics, childhood, juvenility

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.