Hominin language development: a new method of archaeological assessment

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    The question of language development and origin is a subject that is vital to our understanding of what it means to be human. This is reflected in the large range of academic disciplines that are dedicated to the subject. Language development has in particular been related to studies in cognitive capacity and the ability for mind reading, often termed a theory of mind. There has only really been one successful attempt to correlate a cognitive scale of complexity that incorporates a theory of mind, in the form of intentionality orders, to the archaeological record and hominin phylogeny, and that is the Social Brain Hypothesis. However, a method is still lacking that allows a correlation of the orders of intentionality (and by inference a theory of mind and language development) to the archaeological signatures that represent the physical expression of hominin behaviour. This paper is primarily concerned with introducing a new theoretical perspective – termed the identity model – which allows such a correlation between a scale of cognitive acuity, hominin behaviour through the archaeological record and subsequently language development within an evolutionary context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-90
    Number of pages24
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2014


    • Social Brain Hypothesis
    • Language development
    • Theory of mind
    • Identity model


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