Origins of Language and Language and the Brain





Social Cognition in Apes

Arguably, the human pointing behavior significantly differs from that of ape. The differentiation manifests itself in certain ways. First, the human pointing behavior indicates that individuals hold on the ability to encode the universal system of gestures. On the contrary, the ape pointing behavior lacks the ability to encode the universal system of gestures. As a result, apes are unable to understand various crucial aspects closely related to their social cognition. For instance, due to their inability, apes are unable to understand the language and sign language of others. More so, apes are unable to comprehend the intention of others to both act in certain specific ways as well as communicate with them. It is for these reasons that when a human tends to reach for a bucket that contains a treat, the ape is more likely to reach unlike when an individual points on the bucket , as a way to signal the presence and location of the treat.

Similarly, the joint attention of humans differs from that of apes. Joint attention which is also known as shared attention refers to the shared focus of specifically two individuals on a certain object. Joint attention is achieved whenever an individual alert the other to an object through either by pointing, use of verbal or non-verbal indications or eye-gazing. Joint attention in humans differs from apes, especially on the account that the later are unable to understand the sign language of others. As such, in apes, joint attention is ineffective and when present, it encounters varying challenges, unlike in humans. The effectiveness of joint attention arises on the account that they hold the capability to comprehend the sign language of others, and two individuals are able to share the focus on a certain object with minimal challenges.

The above differences are likely to exits due to their encoding capabilities to the universal language. Despite apes and humans belonging to the primate group, the two have varying encoding capabilities to the universal language, inclusive of the sign language and universal system of gestures. It is for this reason that while the humans are able to encode the universal system of gestures the apes are unable to do so. As a result, humans are able to understand the sign language of each other while apes are unable. These differences tend to narrow down and explain the possibility of apes being unable to comprehend the intention of their members and communicate with each other.


Exposing deaf children to sign language at an early age has various benefits. First, doing so helps in providing deal children with the best ever chance of successful language acquisition. Supportively, in a contemporary research on the benefits of early exposure of sign language to deaf children, Cormier (2012) reveals that adults who had developed their sign language skills from birth are better placed at making effective grammatical judgment in British Sign Language. Such was contrary to the adults during the study, who recorded learning British Sign Language at the age of 2 to 8 years for they found it challenging acquiring the same language skills unlike the earlier mentioned set of individuals.

More so, exposing deaf children to sign language at an early age also helps them develop an outstanding bilingual approach. Possessing such an approach aids in maximizing the deaf children cognitive and linguistic skills (Cormier, 2012). The two skills are very vital in the development and proper growth of deaf children. For instance, according to Cormier (2012), the maximization of cognitive and linguistic skills helps deaf children overcome possible challenges, difficulties and delays that they are likely to encounter following their impaired hearing condition.

Arguably, such early exposure is very crucial for all communication systems and not only for the deaf children but even across other different species. For instance, it is through such early exposure, that the animals are able to communicate with the off-springs. More so, this kind of exposure helps the animals off springs to be aware of possible harmful scenarios as well as predicators even at an early age. A good example can be cited from the antelopes. At an early age, the antelopes expose their off-springs to the eye-gazing and verbal language indications such as sounds whenever they notice a certain predictor at a close distance. Due to such exposure, the antelope’s off-springs are able to notice a predictor and run to safety.


A relative outstanding medical case of Broca’s aphasia relates to an 80 year old Japanese Woman. The elderly female presented Broca’s aphasia related behaviors such as onset speech confusion and disturbance which was clear after a pedestrian found her sitting when looking confused and at the loss for words. Upon evaluation in the hospital, it was noticed that she was unable to find the appropriate words to respond, both in writing and through speaking, especially to the physician’s questions(Watari, 2014). These collectively suggested that the patient would be most likely suffering from Broca’s aphasia. Arguably, Broca’s aphasia will not necessarily damage the patients Broca area, but in most cases it just affects the comprising parts. For instance, the Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan on the elderly patient revealed that there was acute infraction involving her Broca area but there were severe stenosis on her cerebral artery distal left middle(Watari, 2014)..

A very precise medical case of Wernicke’s aphasia relates to a 45 year old man. The patient was reported to be suffering from Wernicke’s aphasia following his several unique behaviors. With the patient being a bachelor, he often denied his own language disturbance to others as well as himself. More so, he defended himself against the anxiety which had aroused from the previous mentioned disturbance. Further, he was seen to criticize other individuals as well as rationalizing himself especially whenever they mentioned or discussed his social handicaps and right hand disability(Tezuka,2014). Wernicke’s aphasia does not have damage on the Wernicke’s area, but rather the posterior portion of the patients left hemisphere.


Cormier,K.(2012).Early sign language exposure benefits deaf children.UCL Deafness Cognition And Language Research Centre. Retrieved from children

Tezuka, K.(2014). A Case Study of a Patient with Wernicke’s Aphasia who Denied His Own Language Disturbance. The Japanese Journal of Communication Disorders.

Watari, T., Shimizu, T., & Tokuda, Y. (2014). Broca aphasia. Case Reports, 2014, bcr2014208214.