Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Origin of Language: Solved!

And you were wasting all that time pondering it, when that particular Big Question was answered in 1986!

Background: I get a lot of education from reading Savage Love in the Onion, by the ever-amazing Dan Savage.  Last week's column was devoted to a letter from a man with a particular sexual kink (I will spare Mr. Verb's delicate readers the details, but they can click here if they want to read it).  In his answer, Dan quoted "the late psychologist and sexologist John Money," who published a book in 1986 called Lovemaps: Clinical Concepts of Sexual/Erotic Health and Pathology, Paraphilia, and Gender Transposition in Childhood, Adolescence, and Maturity.  Let me quote Dan, quoting Dr. Money (awesome name, btw):
A wide range of sexuoerotic diversity has its counterpart in the diversity of languages historically manifested in the human species... [Sexual] diversity may be an inevitable evolutionary trade-off—the price paid for the freeing of the primate brain to develop its uniquely human genesis of syntactical speech and creative intelligence.
 Dang!  Someone call Noam!


Anonymous said...

Wow. My heading's gonna be spinning for days. I'm already dizzy.

Mr. Verb said...

So, wait, is being bilingual like being kinky?

Bill Davis said...

That doesn't seem to prove anything. Humans (uniquely) possess language. But we are also the only species who create cuisine, who build cities, who wear ugly pants while golfing and who (thank God) invented disco music.

Mr. Verb said...

I think that was probably the point of the post ... that it doesn't prove anything. But there's gonna be hell to pay for golfing attire.