Man differs from animals by the extraordinary development of the brain and the power of articulate language. Truly as civilizations advance, man continues to study and explore the world.

Since the beginning of time, language has become essential in the progress and evolution of time. Of the caves and tribes; signs and symbols were evident in gestures, communication, and various art forms in man’s way of life.

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1. The bow-wow theory: speech that mimics natural sounds, such as the barking of dogs and other animals, etc.

2. The pooh-pooh theory: Speech is derived from instinctive ejaculations caused by pain, joy, or other intense feelings or sensations. The oldest linguistic form was interjections and exclamations.

3. The ding-dong theory. This theory is a mystical harmony between sound and the senses, according to which for each interior impression there is an appropriate expression on the outside: “everything that is struck sounds. Each substance has its peculiar ring.” (For example: the bell)

4. The ye-he-ho theory – The words emerged as a result of the expressions that followed a strong muscular effort. It would be a relief to the body to let the breath come out loud and repeatedly, to “push” and “drag.” This theory was proposed by a 19th century scholar, Noire.

5. The gestural theory: speech that was born when men began to imitate with the language and the gestures they made with the body. Sir Richard Paget quotes a passage from Darwin’s book, “The Expression of the Emotions.”

The language was thus produced, by the tongue, the lips and the jaw imitating movements is a gesture that means “eating”, others call such gestures “pantomime”.

6. The tarara-boom-de-ay theory – Speech that originated in the semi-musical expressions of primitive man when his main vocal exercise was meaningless humming and singing.

Example: “Hooray! Let’s give thanks.” This theory has been suggested by Professor Otto Jespersen.

This also highlights the romantic image of love and hymns.

7. The tally-ho theory: this theory was born as a result of the communication needs that arose during the hunt; believing that the first speech was an imperative language that consisted only of commands such as the cry of a baby or an animal pleading, etc.

Henry James quotes “All of life returns to the question of our speech, the medium through which we communicate.”

The signs and symbols of a language in the daily affairs of peoples transmit an orderly and convenient communication system that shows the progress of cultures for all times.

Rosa Flores Martinez



A review: theories of the origin of speech

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