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to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards .. Tellson's Bank were principally occupied with the cares of other people; nephew, looking at the uncle and meeting the eyes of the face that was. The Five People You Meet in Heaven The End T HIS IS A STORY ABOUT A MAN named Eddie a BookRags Lesson Plan The Five People You Meet in. 4shared Digitally signed by 4shared DN: cn=4shared, o, ou, especially when I could save them the agony of lengthy 5 ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING court proceedings. . If you're already a positive person, you can use these principles to soar to .. Can you vividly — Jeff Keller see a successful outcome to your meeting?.
The cabdriver looked over his shoulder. The lights were visible miles before we reached the hotel. When we arrived at the Strip, I noticed a river of people trekking up and down the sides of the road. Even in the wee hours of the morning, the sidewalks were packed with bachelors, women pushing strollers with sleeping babies, people in costumes taking pictures for tips, and businessmen —apparently looking to unwind.
Travis put his arm around my shoulders. I leaned against him, trying not to look at my watch for the tenth time. The taxi pulled into the circle drive of the Bellagio, and Travis leaned forward with bills to pay the driver. He then pulled out our roller carry-on, and waited for me. I scooted out, taking his hand and stepping out onto the concrete.
Travis squeezed my hand. The ceiling was distractingly ornate. Everybody in the lobby was standing around with their noses in the air. He was letting me pull him while he took in the ceiling. He was still staring at the ceiling. He turned, snapping out of his hypnotic state.
I can do that. He pecked my cheek before pulling the carry-on to the concierge desk. They were looking at a brochure together, and he had a huge smile on his face while the man pointed out the different venues. Travis Abby leaned in with a smile when I kissed her cheek, and then continued with check-in while I popped over to the concierge to nail down a chapel.
I glanced over at my soon-to-be wife, her long legs propped up by those wedge heel shoes that make a nice pair of legs look even nicer. Her flow-y, thin shirt was just see-through enough that I felt disappointed to see a tank top under it. Her favorite sunglasses were perched on the front of her favorite fedora, and just a few long locks of her caramel hair, a little wavy from drying naturally after her shower, were cascading out from under the hat.
My God, that woman was fucking sexy. We have several for you right here at the Bellagio. However, I can find a few numbers for you to call and request that one appear at your wedding. There is also, of course, the world famous Graceland Chapel, if you prefer. They have packages that include an Elvis impersonator.
As quickly as possible. Schedule the wedding for two. His smile faded as he concentrated, and then it lit up his face again when he finished. The printer buzzed, and then he handed me a piece of paper. I was dragging my feet, trying to take a look around before we went upstairs.
We were here for a much better reason. Regardless, Abby was still all-business, refusing to pause long enough for me to get too comfortable around the tables.
I brought her fingers to my mouth and kissed them. Abby was still looking above the elevator doors, watching the numbers descend. In recent memory, or maybe ever, my bones and muscles had never been so relaxed.
My mind was at ease. It was disorienting, and unsettling, this feeling happy one minute, and like a criminal the next. A slit formed between the elevator doors, and then they slowly slid away from each other, allowing the passengers to bleed out into the hallway.
Abby and I stepped on together with our small roller duffle bag. One woman had a large purse, a large carry-on that was the size of two of ours, and a four-wheeled, vertical suitcase that could fit at least two small children. She took a long look at me, and then Abby, and then spoke in a French accent. Abby and I traded glances, and then she widened her eyes, silently saying Wow, what a bitch. I tried not to laugh. Damn, I loved that woman, and I loved that I knew what she was thinking without her saying a word.
The French woman nodded. When the doors opened on the twenty-fourth floor, Abby and I stepped out onto the ornate carpet, a bit lost, doing the search-walk that people always do when looking for their hotel room.
Finally, at the end of the hall, Abby inserted her keycard and pulled it out quickly. The light turned green. Abby flipped on the light and pulled her purse over her head, tossing it on to the king-size bed. She smiled at me. A corner of her mouth turned up. She rose up on the balls of her feet and pecked me on the mouth. We were wasting too much time, and I had no way to explain to Travis why I needed to get it over with. Get it over with?
Is that how I really felt about it? Maybe I was afraid I would chicken out if there was too much time to think about what we were doing. There are more shops there. He watched me for several moments, long enough to make me squirm. No matter how I tried to explain it away, he knew me well enough to know—poker face or not—that I was hiding something from him. He bent over, and then turned, holding up two small cans of Red Bull. Opening his contacts, I pressed on the name I needed, sent the contact information to my phone via text, and then deleted the text message the second it went through.
When I set his phone down, the bathroom door opened, and Travis appeared in just a towel. I yanked the room door open and made my way to the elevator, inputting and then calling the new number. The elevator opened, revealing a crowd of young women, probably just a little older than me. Three rings later, voicemail chimed in.
You know what to do. The door opened, and I walked with purpose to the Bellagio shops. After searching through too fancy, too trashy, too much lace, too many beads, and too. It was white, of course, and tea length. Fairly plain, really, except for the sheer bateau neckline and a white satin ribbon that tied around the waist. I stood in the mirror, letting my eyes study each line and detail. It was beautiful, and I felt beautiful in it. In just a couple of hours, I would be standing next to Travis Maddox, watching his eyes take in every curve of the fabric.
I walked along the wall, scanning the numerous veils. After trying on the fourth, I placed it back into its cubby, flustered. A veil was too proper. Another display caught my eye, and I walked toward it, letting my fingers run over the different beads, pearls, stones, and metals of various hairpins.
They were less delicate, and more. There were so many on the table, but I kept coming back to one in particular. It had a small, silver comb, and the rest of it was just dozens of different-size rhinestones that somehow formed a butterfly.
Without knowing why, I held it in my hand, sure it was perfect. The shoes were in the back of the store. Two straps went over my toes, and two more around my ankle, with a group of pearls to camouflage the belt. Thankfully they had size six in stock, and I was on to the last thing on my list: I chose a simple but elegant pair of pearl earrings.
At the top, where they fastened to my ear, was a small cubic zirconia, just flashy enough for a special occasion, and a matching necklace. Never in my life had I wanted to stand out. I thought about the first time I stood in front of Travis. What the fuck am I doing? I stood at the register, watching the receipt being printed out for the dress, shoes, hairpin, and jewelry, trying not to hyperventilate. The redhead behind the counter tore off the receipt and handed it to me with a smile.
Suddenly dazed, I walked away, holding the bag against my chest. After a quick stop into the jewelry store for a black titanium wedding ring for Travis, I glanced at my phone and then tossed it back into my purse. I was making good time. When I walked into the casino, my purse began to vibrate. I placed the bag between my legs and reached for it. After two rings, my searching fingers grew desperate, clawing and shoving everything to the side to get to the phone in time.
She lost some of her regulars. Are you in an arcade? I cringed at the disapproval in his voice, knowing it was just the beginning. I had an objective. I had to set my feelings aside as best I could until I achieved what I came for. Just fucking tell me. A lot of people died. Someone has got to go to prison for it. Maybe John Savage, and anyone else they think coordinated it.
How the hell is that going to help him? Maybe if we can prove we were off getting married a few hours later, even if a few dozen drunken frat boys testify that he was at the fight, it will sound just crazy enough to create reasonable doubt. A sob caught in my throat. He would want you to marry him because you want to. At least it will give him a chance. Better odds than he had. I sighed and then nodded, covering my mouth with my free hand. Tears blurred my vision, making a kaleidoscope out of the casino floor.
A chance was better than nothing. Her voice sounded tired and hoarse, even though I was sure she was sincere. Let me know if they come sniffing around the house, or if you hear anything about an investigation. And, I love ya. They were obviously wondering why I was sitting on the floor, but not enough to ask. I stood up, picked up my purse and bag, and inhaled a deep breath. Damn, it was good to be a man. Even when in a hurry, if the Bellagio fountains are dancing to the music, it is un-American not to stop and stand in awe.
I lit a cigarette and puffed on it, resting my arms on a large, concrete ledge that lined the viewing platform. Watching the water sway and spray to the music reminded me of the last time I was there, standing with Shepley while Abby efficiently kicked the asses of four or five poker veterans.
A loss like that would change the whole dynamic of our friendships. Some of the firefighters were holding the hose to pour water inside, others were bringing out survivors. I remembered what it felt like: How my brother had run the wrong way in the confusion, and Abby and I were standing outside without him. Thoughts of what that would have done to my dad, to our entire family, made me feel sick to my stomach. My dad and Jack ran our town when they were in high school.
They were the first generation of badass Maddox brothers. In college towns, the locals either started fights or were picked on. Jim and Jack Maddox never experienced the latter, and even met and married the only two girls at their college that could handle them: Deana and Diane Hempfling. Yes, sisters, making Shepley and me double cousins. It was probably just as well that Jack and Deana stopped at one, with Mom having five unruly boys.
All the fight and anger, plus estrogen? When Shepley was born, Uncle Jack settled down. We were the best of friends. He was a brother who lived in a different house.
He pretty much was, but he looked more like Thomas than the rest of us. We all shared the same DNA. The fountain died down and I walked away, seeing the sign for Crystals. I picked up the pace, dodging the extremely drunk and tired tourists. One short escalator ride and a bridge later, I was inside the stories-tall shopping center. It had glass rectangles displaying colorful water tornados, high-end shops, and the same odd range of people. I popped in and out of one suit shop without any luck, and then walked until I hit a Tom Ford store.
Who said a groom had to wear a tie? Walking out of the shopping center, I saw a pair of black Converse in the window. I went in, asked for my size, tried them on, and smiled. She smiled with a look in her eyes that would have turned me on just six months ago. A woman looking at me that way usually meant any attempts I made to get in her pants had just been made a thousand times easier.
Her dark hair was long, thick, and shiny. Probably half of her five feet. She was a sophisticated, Asian beauty, wrapped in a tight dress and sky-high heels. Her eyes were sharp, calculating.
She was exactly the kind of challenge my old self would have happily taken on. I was going to offer to show you around. It was fanfuckingtastic to go home to Abby every night, and see the welcoming, loving look in her eyes.
Nothing was better than coming up with new ways to make her fall in love with me all over again. I lived for that shit now, and it was way more satisfying. Within an hour of leaving the Bellagio, I had picked up a suit and a gold band for Abby, and was right back where I started: I sat on the end of the bed and grabbed the remote, clicking on the power to the TV before bending over to untie my sneakers.
A familiar scene lit up the screen. It was Keaton, quartered off with yellow tape, and still smoking. The brick around the windows were charred, and the ground surrounding was saturated with water.
The reporter was interviewing a tearful girl, describing how her roommate had never returned to the dorm, and she was still waiting to hear if she was among the dead. I covered my face with my hands and rested my elbows on my knees. Before letting the door close, I took one long, last look at the room. That was the only thing that made the guilt bearable. My heart began to pound. The rest of my life was just hours away.
The elevator opened, and I followed the loudly patterned carpet through the casino. The suit made me feel like a million bucks, and people were staring, wondering where the fine-looking asshole sporting Converse was off to. When I was about halfway through the casino, I noticed a woman sitting on the floor with shopping bags, crying into her cell phone. I stopped dead in my tracks.
Instinctively, I stepped to the side, partially hiding myself at the end of a row of slot machines. Why was she crying? Who was she crying to? Should I confront her?
Abby picked herself off the floor, struggling with her bags. Everything in me wanted to run to her and help, but I was afraid. I was fucking terrified that if I approached her in that moment, she might tell me the truth, and I was afraid to hear it. The selfish bastard in me took over, and I let her walk away. Once she was out of sight, I sat on an empty slot machine stool and pulled the pack of cigarettes out of my inside pocket.
Flicking the lighter, the end of my cigarette sizzled before it glowed red while I pulled in a long drag of smoke. What was I going to do if Abby changed her mind? Could we come back from something like that? Regardless of the answer, I was going to have to figure out a way. I sat there for a long time, smoking, slipping dollar bills into the slot machine while a waitress brought me free drinks.
After four, I waved her away. I needed to grow the fuck up, get a real job, quit drinking, fighting, and control my goddamn anger. I sat alone in the casino, silently vowing that I would make all of those changes, and they would start right then. Just an hour was left before the wedding. I texted Abby, worried how she might respond. I miss u Abby I smiled at the phone display, seeing the text was from Travis.
I miss u too T-minus one hour. I look ducking amazing. When u c me u will want 2 marry me 4 sure. You have good luck.
Only about ur cold feet. Feet r toasty warm. I wish I could explain to u how happy I am right now. Some smiled, some just watched, but it all made me uncomfortable. Even when my mother finally decided to leave Mick and we moved to Wichita three years later, starting over seemed impossible.
I enjoyed two whole weeks of being an unknown before the first local reporter figured out who I was and approached me on the front lawn of my high school. The second half of my high school experience was ruined. Even with a mouthy, scrappy best friend. When America and I left for college, I wanted to be invisible. I looked down from the hundredth pair of eyes watching me intently, and I wondered if being with Travis would always make me feel conspicuous.
Abby would like it. I handed him thirty. The chapel was lit up, glowing against the early morning sky. It was maybe a half hour before sunrise. Abby was going to love it. The front door opened, and a couple came out. They were middle-aged, but he was in a tux, and she was in a huge wedding dress. A short woman in a light pink suit dress was waving them goodbye, and then she noticed me.
I hope your bride appreciates what a looker you are! Pretty much run things around here. She was as wide as she was tall, and her eyes were nearly hidden under thick, fake lashes. The receptionist at the desk offered a smile and a small stack of paperwork. Yes, we want a DVD. Yes, we want flowers. Yes, we want Elvis. I checked all of the appropriate boxes, filled in our names and information, and then handed the paper back.
My hands were sweating. You can freshen up and wait for your bride in here. What was her name? I looked around, noting the couch and mirror surrounded by a thousand huge lightbulbs. The wallpaper was busy but nice, and everything seemed clean and classy, just like Abby wanted. I could hear her humming down the hall. I leaned back against the couch, trying to process what had just happened, and wondering if Chantilly had just chugged a 5-hour ENERGY, or if she was just naturally that chipper.
Even though I was just sitting, my heart was pounding against my chest. This is why people had witnesses: They would have been giving me all kinds of shit, helping to keep my mind off the fact that my stomach was begging to throw up. You look a little nervous. She backed out, shut the door, and I was alone again. My head fell back against the couch, my eyes picked out different shapes in the wall texture.
I was grateful for anything that kept me from glancing down at my watch. I closed my eyes tight, refusing to go there. She would be here. Goddammit, I wished my brothers were here.
She had short, gray hair, and her backside filled up all of the seat, and then some. She clicked her tongue. I just want him to be okay. I met her eyes in the mirror. But so did Bon Jovi. Tommy used to work on the docks! I have the CD. I pulled out a fifty. You let me sing. Was Travis already here? I walked up to the chapel and opened the door. An older woman with big hair and too much lip gloss greeted me. Let me take your things. Elvis will be by shortly to take you down the aisle.
Travis is waiting, so Elvis will be knocking any minute. See you at the end of the aisle! I turned, startled by my own reflection in the huge mirror behind me. It was bordered by large, round lights like one an actress might use before a Broadway show. I sat down at the vanity, staring at myself in the mirror. Is that what I was? Travis is at the end of the aisle, waiting for me to join him so we can promise the rest of our lives to each other. What if he goes to prison and this was all for nothing?
I no longer had the excuse that I had gotten married, before I was even legal to drink, because I was saving him. Did I need an excuse if I loved him? Why did anyone get married? We had that in spades. I was so sure of everything in the beginning. I used to be sure about a lot things.
I never wanted him to hurt and I needed him as if he were a part of me. Of those two things I was sure. Two knocks on the door nearly sent me into a panic attack. I turned, gripping the top of the chair back. It was white wire, swirls and curves formed a heart in the middle. These knocks were familiar. I just showed her to a dressing room to freshen up. I wiped my sweaty palms on my slacks and followed Chantilly out to the hallway, and into the lobby.
But, you have to be at the other end of the aisle, sugar. I imagined she dealt with all kinds of situations, from drunks to jitters. Be back in a flash. After another five minutes, Chantilly popped her head through the doors. Do you want to try to talk to her? The aisle seemed short before, but now it felt like a mile. I pushed through the doors, and raised my fist. I paused, took a breath, and then knocked a few times. Just the thought of that night made me feel a burning sickness in my gut.
I need a moment to breathe. I was determined to keep my head, to fight away the panic that used to cause me to do all kinds of stupid stuff. I needed to be the man Abby deserved. Chantilly cleared her throat and wrung her hands, clearly trying to think of something encouraging to say. I needed to be on the other side of that door. What I would say next could change everything, but making everything all right for Abby trumped my own epically selfish needs.
What you may not know is that there is nothing I want more than to be your husband. I want this, but only if you do. I need you to know that you can open this door and we can walk down the aisle, or we can get a taxi and go home.
Either way, I love you. I pulled an old, worn envelope from my inside jacket pocket, and held it with both hands. The faded pen looped around, and I followed the lines with my index finger. My mother had written the words To the future Mrs. My dad had given it to me when he thought things between Abby and me were getting serious. My hands were shaking. I had no clue what Mom had written, but I really needed her right now, and was hoping that this one time, she could somehow reach out from where she was and help me.
I squatted down, sliding the envelope under the door. The word used to make my eyes roll. I stood and walked over to the door, holding my palm to the wood. Every part of me was relaxed. His warm words fell slowly around me like a cozy blanket. It was then that I understood that whether I was doing this to help him or not, I was there to get married to the man who loved me more than any man loved any woman.
And I loved him—enough for three lifetimes. In the Graceland Chapel, in this dress was almost exactly where I wanted to be.
The only place better would be next to him at the end of the aisle. Just then, a small, white square appeared at my feet. The paper was old, yellow.
It was addressed to the future Mrs. My finger carefully slid in between the opening, hoping to preserve it as best I could, but failing miserably. I pulled out the tri-folded paper, and the entire world stopped. First, thank you for loving my son. Of all my boys, Travis is the most tender hearted. He is also the strongest. He will love you with everything he has for as long as you let him. Tragedies in life sometimes change us, but some things never change.
A boy without a mother is a very curious creature. I wish more than anything that I could be there today. The online Study Guide again supports your learning with analysis, suggested answers and resources for all these tasks. The Discussion Topics and Projects found at the end of each topic provide an opportunity for you to consider some of the larger issues in the study of language, to think about some of the controversies that arise with certain topics and to try to focus your own opinions on different languagerelated issues.
Origins of this book This book can be traced back to introductory courses on language taught at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Minnesota and Louisiana State University, and to the suggestions and criticisms of hundreds of students who forced me to present what I had to say in a way they could understand.
An early version of the written material was developed for Independent Study students at the University of Minnesota. Later versions have had the benefit of expert advice from a lot of teachers working with diverse groups in different situations.
I am particularly indebted to Professor Hugh Buckingham, Louisiana State University, for sharing his expertise and enthusiasm over many years as a colleague and friend. In creating this new edition, I have also benefited from reader surveys conducted by Sarah Wightman and Andrew Winnard, as well as the work of many others in the excellent production team at Cambridge University Press.
For my own introductory course, I remain indebted to Willie and Annie Yule, and, for my continuing enlightenment, to Maryann Overstreet. It remains, however, a speculation.
We do know that the ability to produce sound and simple vocal patterning a hum versus a grunt, for example appears to be in an ancient part of the brain that we share with all vertebrates, including fish, frogs, birds and other mammals. We suspect that some type of spoken language must have developed betweenand 50, years ago, well before written language about 5, years ago. Yet, among the traces of earlier periods of life on earth, we never find any direct evidence or artifacts relating to the speech of our distant ancestors that might tell us how language was back in the early stages.
Perhaps because of this absence of direct physical evidence, there has been no shortage of speculation about the origins of human speech.
In most religions, there appears to be a divine source who provides humans with language. In an attempt to rediscover this original divine language, a few experiments have been carried out, with rather conflicting results.
The basic hypothesis seems to have been that, if human infants were allowed to grow up without hearing any language around them, then they would spontaneously begin using the original God-given language.
The Greek writer Herodotus reported the story of an Egyptian pharaoh named Psammetichus or Psamtik who tried the experiment with two newborn babies more than 2, years ago. That seems very unlikely. First remove the -kos ending, which was added in the Greek version of the story, then pronounce beas you would the English word bed without -d at the end. Can you hear a goat? It is unfortunate that all other cases of children who have been discovered living in isolation, without coming into contact with human speech, tend not to confirm the results of these types of divine-source experiments.
Very young children living without access to human language in their early years grow up with no language at all. We will consider the case of one such child later in Chapter The natural sound source A quite different view of the beginnings of language is based on the concept of natural sounds.
The basic idea is that primitive words could have been imitations of the The origins of language natural sounds which early men and women heard around them. When an object flew by, making a CAW-CAW sound, the early human tried to imitate the sound and used it to refer to the thing associated with the sound. And when another flying creature made a COO-COO sound, that natural sound was adopted to refer to that kind of object. The fact that all modern languages have some words with pronunciations that seem to echo naturally occurring sounds could be used to support this theory.
In English, in addition to cuckoo, we have splash, bang, boom, rattle, buzz, hiss, screech, and forms such as bow-wow. Words that sound similar to the noises they describe are examples of onomatopeia. While it is true that a number of words in any language are onomatopoeic, it is hard to see how most of the soundless things as well as abstract concepts in our world could have been referred to in a language that simply echoed natural sounds.
It has also been suggested that the original sounds of language may have come from natural cries of emotion such as pain, anger and joy. By this route, presumably, Ouch! We normally produce spoken language on exhaled breath. Basically, the expressive noises people make in emotional reactions contain sounds that are not otherwise used in speech production and consequently would seem to be rather unlikely candidates as source sounds for language.
The idea is that the sounds of a person involved in physical effort could be the source of our language, especially when that physical effort involved several people and the interaction had to be coordinated. So, a group of early humans might develop a set of hums, grunts, groans and curses that were used when they were lifting and carrying large bits of trees or lifeless hairy mammoths. The appeal of this proposal is that it places the development of human language in a social context.
Early people must have lived in groups, if only because larger groups offered better protection from attack. Groups are necessarily social organizations and, to maintain those organizations, some form of communication is required, even if it is just grunts and curses. So, human sounds, however they were produced, must have had some principled use within the life and social interaction of early human groups.
This is an important idea that may relate to the uses of humanly produced sounds. It does not, however, answer our question regarding the origins of the sounds produced. The physical adaptation source Instead of looking at types of sounds as the source of human speech, we can look at the types of physical features humans possess, especially those that are distinct from other creatures, which may have been able to support speech production.
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We can start with the observation that, at some early stage, our ancestors made a very significant transition to an upright posture, with bipedal on two feet locomotion, and a revised role for the front limbs. Some effects of this type of change can be seen in physical differences between the skull of a gorilla and that of a Neanderthal man from around 60, years ago.
The reconstructed vocal tract of a Neanderthal suggests that some consonant-like sound distinctions would have been possible. We have to wait until about 35, years ago for features in reconstructions of fossilized skeletal structures that begin to resemble those of modern humans.
In the study of evolutionary development, there are certain physical features, best thought of as partial adaptations, which appear to be relevant for speech. They are streamlined versions of features found in other primates. By themselves, such features would not necessarily lead to speech production, but they are good clues that a creature possessing such features probably has the capacity for speech.
Teeth, lips, mouth, larynx and pharynx Human teeth are upright, not slanting outwards like those of apes, and they are roughly even in height. Such characteristics are not very useful for ripping or tearing food and seem better adapted for grinding and chewing.
They are also very helpful in making sounds such as f or v. Human lips have much more intricate muscle interlacing than is found in other primates and their resulting flexibility certainly helps in making sounds like p or b.
The human mouth is relatively small compared to other primates, can be opened and closed rapidly, and contains a smaller, thicker and more muscular tongue which can be used to shape a wide variety of sounds inside the oral cavity.
In addition, unlike other primates, humans can close off the airway through the nose to create more air pressure in the mouth. The overall effect of these small differences taken together is a face with more intricate muscle interlacing in the lips and mouth, capable of a wider range of shapes and a more rapid and powerful delivery of sounds produced through these different shapes. In the course of human physical development, the assumption of an upright posture moved the head more directly above the spinal column and the larynx dropped to a lower position.
This created a longer cavity called the pharynx, above the vocal folds, which acts as a resonator for increased range and clarity of the sounds produced via the larynx and the vocal tract. One unfortunate consequence of this development is that the lower position of the human larynx makes it much more possible for the human to choke on pieces of food.
Monkeys may not be able to use their larynx to produce speech sounds, but they do not suffer from the problem of getting food stuck in their windpipe. In evolutionary terms, there must have been a big advantage in getting this extra vocal power i. The tool-making source In the physical adaptation view, one function producing speech sounds must have been superimposed on existing anatomical features teeth, lips previously used for other purposes chewing, sucking.
A similar development is believed to have taken place with human hands and some believe that manual gestures may have been a precursor of language. By about two million years ago, there is evidence that humans had developed preferential right-handedness and had become capable of making stone tools.
Wood tools and composite tools eventually followed. Tool-making, or the outcome of manipulating objects and changing them using both hands, is evidence of a brain at work. The human brain is not only large relative to human body size, it is also lateralized, that is, it has specialized functions in each of the two hemispheres.
More details are presented in Chapter Those functions that control the motor movements involved in complex vocalization speaking and object manipulation making or using tools are very close to each other in the left hemisphere of the brain. It may be that there was an evolutionary connection between the language-using and tool-using abilities of humans and that both were involved in the development of the speaking brain.
Most of the other speculative proposals concerning the origins of speech seem to be based on a picture of humans producing single noises to indicate objects in their environment.
This activity may indeed have been a crucial stage in the development of language, but what it lacks is any structural organization. All languages, including sign language, require the organizing and combining of sounds or signs in specific arrangements.
We seem to have developed a part of our brain that specializes in making these arrangements. If we think in terms of the most basic process involved in primitive tool-making, it is not enough to be able to grasp one rock make one sound ; the human must also be able 5 6 The Study of Language to bring another rock other sounds into proper contact with the first in order to develop a tool.
In terms of language structure, the human may have first developed a naming ability by producing a specific and consistent noise e. The crucial additional step was to bring another specific noise e. Several thousand years of development later, humans have honed this message-building capacity to a point where, on Saturdays, watching a football game, they can drink a sustaining beverage and proclaim This beer is good.
As far as we know, other primates are not doing this. The genetic source We can think of the human baby in its first few years as a living example of some of these physical changes taking place. In a relatively short period of time, the larynx descends, the brain develops, the child assumes an upright posture and starts walking and talking.
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Even children who are born deaf and do not develop speech become fluent sign language users, given appropriate circumstances, very early in life. This seems to indicate that human offspring are born with a special capacity for language. Is it possible that this language capacity is genetically hard-wired in the newborn human? As a solution to the puzzle of the origins of language, this innateness hypothesis would seem to point to something in human genetics, possibly a crucial mutation, as the source.
This would not have been a gradual change, but something that happened rather quickly. We are not sure when this proposed genetic change might have taken place or how it might relate to the physical adaptations described earlier. However, as we consider this hypothesis, we find our speculations about the origins of language moving away from fossil evidence or the physical source of basic human sounds toward analogies with how computers work e.
If we are indeed the only creatures with this special capacity for language, then will it be completely impossible for any other creature to produce or understand language?
Chewing, licking and sucking are extremely widespread mammalian activities, which, in terms of casual observation, have obvious similarities with speech.
What exactly happened at Babel and why is it used in explanations of language origins? C What are the arguments for and against a teleological explanation of the origins of human language? Can you find a simpler or less technical way to express this idea? This is substantially earlier than the dates betweenand 50, years ago that other scholars have proposed.
F What is the connection between the innateness hypothesis, as described in this chapter, and the idea of a Universal Grammar? What kind of evidence do you think would be needed to resolve this question? For background reading, see chapter 4 of Aitchison, II A connection has been proposed between language, tool-using and righthandedness in the majority of humans. Is it possible that freedom to use the hands, after assuming an upright bipedal posture, resulted in certain skills that led to the development of language?
Why did we assume an upright posture? What kind of changes must have taken place in our hands? For background reading, see chapter 5 of Beaken, Further reading Basic treatments Aitchison, J. Human Language and Human Evolution W. Norton Gesture Corballis, M.