Scientists find ‘missing link’ behind first human languages

A new study has shown, for the first time, that humans recognize the intended meanings of iconic vocalizations — basic sounds made by people to represent specific objects, entities and actions — regardless of the language they speak. 

These vocalizations, such as the imitation of snoring to denote sleep, or roaring to denote a tiger, could have played a crucial role in the development of the first human languages, according to the researchers.

The finding contrasts with the prior assumption that physical gestures and signals drove the development of human language.

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