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How did the human language of TOP-6 theories appear?
How did the human language of TOP-6 theories appear?

The question of the origin of language has occupied many prominent thinkers, but it was posed and resolved in very different ways. So for the famous scientist Potebnya, this was a question "about the phenomena of mental life that preceded language, about the laws of its formation and development, about its influence on subsequent mental activity, that is, a purely psychological question."

In his opinion, it is through the psychological observation of modern speech processes that the key can be found to understand how these processes took place at the dawn of mankind.

The well-known theory of onomatopoeia (Stoics, Leibniz), the theory of emotional cries-interjections (J.J. Rousseau, D.N. Kudryavsky), the theory of social contract (the same J.J. Rousseau, Adam Smith), the theory of labor rhythmic cries (L Noiret), the theory of "semiotic leap" - sudden meaning (K. Levi-Strauss), etc.

Already one list shows that it is not so much about theories as about hypotheses, purely speculatively produced from the general philosophical views of one or another author. And this situation in this matter is not accidental: the origin of language in general as an integral part of a person cannot be directly observed or reproduced in an experiment. The emergence of language is hidden in the depths of the prehistory of mankind. But let's consider each theory separately.

1. Onomatopoeic theory

Leibniz (1646-1716) tried to substantiate the principles of onomatopoeic theory in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The great German thinker reasoned as follows: there are derivative, late languages, and there is a primary, "root" language, from which all subsequent derivative languages ​​were formed.

According to Leibniz, onomatopoeia took place primarily in the root language, and only to the extent that "derived languages" further developed the foundations of the root language, did they develop at the same time the principles of onomatopoeia. To the same extent that derivative languages ​​moved away from the root language, their word production turned out to be less and less "naturally onomatopoeic" and more and more symbolic. Leibniz also attributed a quality connection to certain sounds.

True, he believed that the same sound can be associated with several qualities at once. So, the sound l, according to Leibniz, can express something soft (leben "to live", lieben "to love", liegen "to lie"), and something completely different. For example, in the words lion ("lion"), lynx ("lynx"), loup ("wolf"), the sound l does not mean anything gentle. Here, perhaps, a connection is found with some other quality, namely, with speed, with running (Lauf).

Taking onomatopoeia as a principle of the origin of language, as a principle on the basis of which a person's "gift of speech" arose, Leibniz rejects the significance of this principle for the subsequent development of language. The disadvantage of onomatopoeic theory can be called the following: supporters of this theory consider language not as a social, but as a natural (natural) phenomenon.

2. The theory of the emotional origin of language and the theory of interjections

Its most important representative was Zh-J Rousseau (1712-1778). In his treatise on the origin of languages, Rousseau wrote that "the first sounds of the voice caused the passions." According to Rousseau, "the first languages ​​were melodious and passionate, and only later did they become simple and methodical." According to Rousseau, it turned out that the first languages ​​were much richer than the subsequent ones. But civilization has spoiled man. That is why language, according to Rousseau, has deteriorated and from being richer, more emotional, direct, it has become dry, rational and methodical.

Rousseau's emotional theory received a kind of development in the 19th and 20th centuries and became known as the theory of interjections. One of the defenders of this theory, the Russian linguist Kudryavsky (1863-1920) believed that interjections were a kind of first words of a person. Interjections were the most emotional words in which primitive man put different meanings depending on a particular situation.

According to Kudryavsky, in interjections, sound and meaning were still inextricably linked. Subsequently, as the interjections turned into words, the sound and meanings diverged, and this transition of interjections into words was associated with the emergence of articulate speech.

3. The theory of sound cries

This theory arose in the 19th century in the writings of vulgar materialists (Germans Noiret, Bucher). It boiled down to the fact that language emerged from the outcries that accompanied collective work. But these labor cries can only be a means of rhythmizing labor, they do not express anything, not even emotions, but are only an external, technical means of work.

4. The theory of social contract

From the middle of the 18th century, the theory of the social contract appeared. The essence of this theory lies in the fact that in later stages of language development it is possible to agree on certain words, especially in the field of terminology. But it is quite obvious that, first of all, in order to "agree on a language", one must already have a language in which to "agree".

5 the human origin of language

German philosopher Herder spoke about the purely human origin of language. Herder believed that human language arose not to communicate with other people, but to communicate with oneself, to become aware of one's own self. If a person lived in perfect solitude, then, according to Herder, he would have a language. Language was the result of "a secret agreement that the human soul entered into with itself."

6 Engels' labor theory

Special attention should be paid to the labor theory of Engels. In connection with the labor theory of the origin of language, one should first of all name the unfinished work of F. Engels "The Role of Labor in the Process of the Transformation of a Monkey into a Man". In his Introduction to Dialectics of Nature, Engels explains the conditions for the emergence of language: "When, after a thousand-year struggle, the hand finally differentiated itself against the legs and a straight gait was established, then man separated from the monkey, and the foundation was laid for the development of articulate speech …"

In human development, the upright gait was a prerequisite for the emergence of speech and a prerequisite for the expansion and development of consciousness. The revolution that man brings to nature consists, first of all, in the fact that human labor is different from that of animals - it is labor with the use of tools, and, moreover, made by those who must own them, and thereby progressive and social labor. …

No matter how skilful architects we may think of ants and bees, they do not know what they say: their work is instinctive, their art is not conscious, and they work with the whole organism, purely biologically, without using tools, and therefore there is no progress in their work. …

The freed hand became the first human tool, other tools of labor developed as an addition to the hand (stick, hoe, rake); still later, a person shifts the burden of labor onto an elephant, camel, horse, and he himself controls them. A technical engine appears and replaces animals. “In short, the emerging people came to the fact that they had a need to say something to each other. Need has created its own organ: the undeveloped larynx of the monkey was slowly but steadily transformed by modulations for more and more developed modulation, and the organs of the mouth gradually learned to pronounce one articulate sound after another."

Thus, language could only emerge as a collective asset necessary for mutual understanding. But not as an individual property of this or that humanized individual.

There are also other theories about the origin of the language. For example, the theory of gestures (Geiger, Wundt, Marr). All references to the presence of supposedly purely "sign languages" cannot be supported by facts; gestures always act as something secondary for people who have a sound language. There are no words among gestures, gestures are not associated with concepts.

It is also inappropriate to deduce the origin of language from analogs with mating songs of birds as a manifestation of the instinct of self-preservation (Charles Darwin), especially from human singing (Rousseau, Espersen). The disadvantage of all the above theories is that they ignore language as a social phenomenon. The question of the origin of the language can be resolved. There may be many solutions, but they will all be hypothetical.

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