A great inspiration for the Thinking Languages! method was anthropology. You can think that learning a language and studying the human species is not related, but one of the things that really worry scientist all around the world is how we started talking. We have a big problem on this regarding, and that is that we don’t know for sure. However; we think we know why we needed communication.
The Pleistocene was a great time, an era that has caught our imagination and our curiosity more than any other in prehistory, because we certainly know that we, Homo Sapiens, shared the world with another type of humans, Neanderthals.
I am really impressed to see how the scientific community still discusses the possibility that Neanderthals spoke languages similar to ours. In my opinion, we learnt modern languages directly from them, and they had probably got inspired by Homo Erectus, but why?
What makes us special
In far too many occasions we express a very spread idea, that one that says that humans are rubbish anatomically speaking. An adult chimpanzee is eight times stronger than us, we are faster than just a few number of animals known for being very slow and our hands, teeth and body muscles cannot compete against any wild creature.
But that is a misperception of reality, that consists of watching life in a very simplistic form, nearly like children do, as if being stronger is always better. When the Homo family came down the trees, we started walking on two feet, and that is the anatomical change that made us win as species.
Walking like we do, something we are the only ones who can do in all the planet, means that we save the most energy. When our ancestors started eating meat, they probably scavenged in the Sabanna. But evolution gave us a taller body and it was Homo Erectus who stood up and started running saving the most energy and cooling their bodies with a very efficient sweating system. We are born for resistance on two feet.
We don’t have to be strong, we can chase a buffalo for days until its heart collapses and it is the heart attack what really killed our preys. Anatomically we are the best of the best, but highly specialized, as one would expect from humans, of course.
Had we been just a bit worse, we would have dissapeared from Earth long ago. If you want to know more about this, I recommend you to read Our kind, by Marvin Harris.
Communication. The Language of Love
We also use tools, we learnt how to speak and communicate between our own and we protect each other. Actually, this is a key thing. Humans are the only ones in nature who protect others who could be competitors for one simple reason; Love.
For the first time in history, what motivated an animal was not surviving directly, but caring for the love ones. That is how human clans were formed. We are very different from a pack of wolves, they stick together because they need each other for the hunting. We do and we did because we love each other.
What really made us love each other was getting to know what was in my friend’s mind, and we discovered the key for that: Language. I can tell you how I feel, and you can tell me what you don’t like and we can agree or disagree, but we can leave things very clear.
Babies cannot speak, and their Dormant Giants are aware of being left outside the clan, and we know that in the Pleistocen time, a baby left out in the cold wouldn’t have much of a future. That is the reason why babies are willing to learn speaking as soon as possible, they want to belong!
Be my baby
Babies are the best language learners for very simple reasons, they think they are going to die if they don’t learn, and this was partly true in the past. They have certain feautures that make everything possible, so we must be like a baby if we want to learn a language well.
A caveman or a cavewoman was not different from you, and our brains are still the same. If you were born in their clans, you wouldn’t have been different from them, and they could live as we do if raised by your own family.
If you want to apply the same technics human babies use in order to learn a language naturally, you’ll have to wait until next week.