Everett examines the culture of the first known human species, Homo erectus, focusing especially on their physical and cultural evolution such as tools, travel, and settlements. He then makes the case that these accomplishments are best explained by the invention of language. Language in turn is shown to be the transfer of information by symbols, where other components of language, such as grammar, play roles in support of symbolic communication. Concrete evidence for symbols among erectus populations is found in their tool construction and “dialectal” tool distinctions. The talk is based of Everett's book, How Language Began: The Story of Humanity's Greatest Invention.
Daniel L. Everett is the dean of arts and sciences at Bentley University. He has published more than one hundred articles and twelve books on linguistic theory, including Dark Matter of the Mind: The Culturally Articulated Unconscious.
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