Can Evolution Explain the Origin of Language?

by Fazale Rana

Oh honey hush, yes you talk too much
Oh honey hush, yes you talk too much
Listenin’ to your conversation is just about to separate us

—Albert Collins

He was called the “Master of the Telecaster.” He was also known as the “Iceman,” because his guitar playing was so hot, he was cold. Albert Collins (1932–93) was an electric blues guitarist and singer whose distinct style of play influenced the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Robert Cray.

Collins was known for his sense of humor and it often came through in his music. In one of Collins’s signature songs, Honey Hush, the bluesman complains about his girlfriend who never stops talking: “You start talkin’ in the morning; you’re talkin’ all day long.” Collins finds his girlfriend’s nonstop chatter so annoying that he contemplates ending their relationship.

While Collins may have found his girlfriend’s unending conversation irritating, the capacity for conversation is a defining feature of human beings (modern humans). As human beings, we can’t help ourselves—we “talk too much.”

What does our capacity for language tell us about human nature and our origins?…
 

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Can Evolution Explain the Origin of Language?