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The Evolution of Language in the Late Pleistocene

Julian Jaynes
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1976, 280: 312-325.
Reprinted in Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), The Julian Jaynes Collection (Julian Jaynes Society, 2012).


In this paper I shall first addess the question of when language evolved, basing my answer on three assumptions. I shall then attempt the question of how language evolved, appealing to a principle of intensity differentiation of call endings and describing how this may have resulted in first modifiers, then commands, and then nouns and names. I shall then insist that this development is roughly correlated with the hastening sequence of archeological artifacts from the Acheulean to Neolithic times. Finally, since such a view demands an exceedingly swift evolution, I shall close with several possibilities of how this "leveraged" evolution, as I shall call it, could have occurred.