Volume 18, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Gesture-first theories of language origins often raise two unsubstantiated arguments against vocal origins. First, they argue that great ape vocal behavior is highly constrained, limited to a fixed, species-typical repertoire of reflexive calls. Second, they argue that vocalizations lack any significant potential to ground meaning through iconicity, or resemblance between form and meaning. This paper reviews the considerable evidence that debunks these two “myths”. Accumulating evidence shows that the great apes exercise voluntary control over their vocal behavior, including their breathing apparatus, larynx, and supralaryngeal articulators. They are also able to learn new vocal behaviors, and even show some rudimentary ability for vocal imitation. In addition, an abundance of research demonstrates that the vocal modality affords rich potential for iconicity. People can understand iconicity in sound symbolism, and they can produce iconic vocalizations to communicate a diverse range of meanings. Thus, two of the primary arguments against vocal origins theories are not tenable. As an alternative, the paper concludes that the origins of language – going as far back as our last common ancestor with great apes – are rooted in iconicity in both gesture and vocalization.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ackermann, H. , Hage, S. R. , & Ziegler, W.
    (2014) Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, 529–604. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X13003099
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X13003099 [Google Scholar]
  2. Ahlner, F. , & Zlatev, J.
    (2011) Cross-modal iconicity: A cognitive semiotic approach to sound symbolism. Sign Systems Studies, 38, 298–348. doi: 10.12697/SSS.2010.38.1‑4.11
    https://doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2010.38.1-4.11 [Google Scholar]
  3. Arbib, M. A. , Liebal, K. , & Pika, S.
    (2008) Primate vocalization, gesture, and the evolution of human language. Current Anthropology, 49, 1053–1076. doi: 10.1086/593015
    https://doi.org/10.1086/593015 [Google Scholar]
  4. Armstrong, D. F. , & Wilcox, S. E.
    (2007) The gestural origin of language. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195163483.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195163483.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bates, E.
    (1976) Language and context: The acquisition of pragmatics. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bender, R. , & Bender, N.
    (2013) Brief communication: Swimming and diving behavior in apes (Pan troglodytes and Pongo pygmaeus): First documented report: Swimming and Diving behavior in Apes. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 152(1), 156–162. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22338
    https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22338 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bentley, M. , & Varon, E. J.
    (1933) An accessory study of phonetic symbolism. American Journal of Psychology, 45, 76–86. doi: 10.2307/1414187
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1414187 [Google Scholar]
  8. Blackwell, N. L. , Perlman, M. , & Fox Tree, J. E.
    (2015) Quotation as a multimodal construction. Journal of Pragmatics, 81, 1–7. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2015.03.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2015.03.004 [Google Scholar]
  9. Blasi, D. E. , Wichmann, S. , Hammarstrom, H. , Stadler, P. F. , & Christiansen, M. H.
    (2016) Sound-meaning association biases evidenced across thousands of languages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .113, 10818–10823. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1605782113
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1605782113 [Google Scholar]
  10. Bonvillian, J. D. , Orlansky, M. D. , & Novack, L. L.
    (1983) Developmental milestones: Sign language acquisition and motor development. Child Development, 54, 1435–1445. doi: 10.2307/1129806
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1129806 [Google Scholar]
  11. Bremner, A. J. , Caparos, S. , Davidoff, J. , de Fockert, J. , Linnell, K. J. & Spence, C.
    (2013) ‘‘Bouba’’ and ‘‘Kiki’’ in Namibia? A remote culture make similar shape–sound matches, but different shape–taste matches to Westerners. Cognition, 126, 165–172. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2012.09.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2012.09.007 [Google Scholar]
  12. Call, J. , & Tomasello, M
    (Eds.) (2007) The gestural communication of apes and monkeys. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Cartmill, E. A. , Beilock, S. , & Goldin-Meadow, S.
    (2012) A word in the hand: Action, gesture and mental representation in humans and non-human primates. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367, 29–143. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0162
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0162 [Google Scholar]
  14. Clark, H. H.
    (2016) Depicting as a method of communication. Psychological Review, 123(3), 324–347. doi: 10.1037/rev0000026
    https://doi.org/10.1037/rev0000026 [Google Scholar]
  15. Clark, H. H. , & Gerrig, R. J.
    (1990) Quotations as demonstrations. Language, 66(4), 764. doi: 10.2307/414729
    https://doi.org/10.2307/414729 [Google Scholar]
  16. Clark, N. , Perlman, M. , & Johansson Falck, M.
    (2014) Iconic pitch expresses vertical space. InLanguage and the creative mind (pp.393–410). Stanford: SCLI Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Corballis, M. C.
    (2003) From hand to mouth: The origins of language. Princeton, NJ; Woodstock: Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Crockford, C. , Herbinger, I. , Vigilant, L. , & Boesch, C.
    (2004) Wild chimpanzees produce group-specific calls: A case for vocal learning?Ethology, 110, 221–243. doi: 10.1111/j.1439‑0310.2004.00968.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0310.2004.00968.x [Google Scholar]
  19. Cuskley, C.
    (2013) Mappings between linguistic sound and motion. Public Journal of Semiotics, 5, 39–62.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Dingemanse, M.
    (2012) Advances in the cross-linguistic study of ideophones: Advances in the cross-linguistic study of ideophones. Language and Linguistics Compass, 6(10), 654–672. doi: 10.1002/lnc3.361
    https://doi.org/10.1002/lnc3.361 [Google Scholar]
  21. (2013) Ideophones and gesture in everyday speech. Gesture, 13, 146–165. doi: 10.1075/gest.13.2.02din
    https://doi.org/10.1075/gest.13.2.02din [Google Scholar]
  22. Dingemanse, M. , Blasi, D. E. , Lupyan, G. , Christansen, M. H. , & Monaghan, P.
    (2015) Arbitrariness, iconicity, and systematicity in language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19, 603–615. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.07.013
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2015.07.013 [Google Scholar]
  23. Douglas, P. H. , & Moscovice, L. R.
    (2015) Pointing and pantomime in wild apes? Female bonobos use referential and iconic gestures to request genito-genital rubbing. Scientific Reports, 5, 13999. doi: 10.1038/srep13999
    https://doi.org/10.1038/srep13999 [Google Scholar]
  24. Evans, N. & Levinson, S. C.
    (2009) The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32, 429–448. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X0999094X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X0999094X [Google Scholar]
  25. Fay, N. , Arbib, M. , & Garrod, S.
    (2013) How to Bootstrap a Human Communication System. Cognitive Science, 37(7), 1356–1367. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12048
    https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12048 [Google Scholar]
  26. Fay, N. , Lister, C. J. , Ellison, T. M. , & Goldin-Meadow, S.
    (2014) Creating a communication system from scratch: Gesture beats vocalization hands down. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1–12. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00354
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00354 [Google Scholar]
  27. Feyereisen, P. , & de Lannoy, J. D.
    (1991) Gestures and speech: Psychological investigations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Fitch, W. T.
    (2010) The evolution of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511817779
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511817779 [Google Scholar]
  29. Fouts, R. S. , & Tukel, S.
    (1997) Next of kin: My conversations with chimpanzees. New York: William Morrow.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Furness, W. H.
    (1916) Observations on the mentality of chimpanzees and orang-utans. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society , 55, 281–290.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Genty, E. , & Zuberbühler, K.
    (2015) Iconic gesturing in bonobos. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 8, e992742. doi: 10.4161/19420889.2014.992742
    https://doi.org/10.4161/19420889.2014.992742 [Google Scholar]
  32. Goldin-Meadow, S.
    (2003) The resilience of language: what gesture creation in deaf children can tell us about how all children learn language. New York, NY: Psychology Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. (2016) What the hands can tell us about language emergence. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. doi: 10.3758/s13423‑016‑1074‑x
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-016-1074-x [Google Scholar]
  34. Goodall, J.
    (1986) The chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Graham, K. E. , Furuichi, T. , & Byrne, R. W.
    (2016) The gestural repertoire of the wild bonobo (Pan paniscus): A mutually understood communication system. Animal Cognition. doi: 10.1007/s10071‑016‑1035‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-016-1035-9 [Google Scholar]
  36. Greenberg, J. H. , & Jenkins, J. J.
    (1966) Studies in the psychological correlates of the sound system of American English. Word, 22, 207–242. doi: 10.1080/00437956.1966.11435451
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1966.11435451 [Google Scholar]
  37. Haiman, J.
    (1980) The iconicity of grammar: Isomorphism and motivation. Language, 56, 515–540. doi: 10.2307/414448
    https://doi.org/10.2307/414448 [Google Scholar]
  38. Hardus, M. E. , Lameira, A. R. , Van Schaik, C. P. , & Wich, S. A.
    (2009) Tool use in wild orang-utans modifies sound production: A functionally deceptive innovation?Proceedings of the Royal Society B , 276, 3689–3694.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Harnad, S.
    (1990) The symbol grounding problem. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, 42(1-3), 335–346. doi: 10.1016/0167‑2789(90)90087‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0167-2789(90)90087-6 [Google Scholar]
  40. Hayes, C.
    (1951) The ape in our house. New York: Harper.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Hewes, G. W.
    (1973) Primate communication and the gestural origin of language. Current Anthropology, 14(1/2), 5–24. doi: 10.1086/201401
    https://doi.org/10.1086/201401 [Google Scholar]
  42. Hobaiter, C. & Byrne, R. W.
    (2011) The gestural repertoire of the wild chimpanzee. Animal Cognition, 14, 745–767. doi: 10.1007/s10071‑011‑0409‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-011-0409-2 [Google Scholar]
  43. Hocket, C. F.
    (1960) The origin of speech. Scientific American, 203, 88–111. doi: 10.1038/scientificamerican0960‑88
    https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0960-88 [Google Scholar]
  44. Hirata, S. , Ukita, J. , & Kita, S.
    (2011) Implicit phonetic symbolism in voicing of consonants and visual lightness using Garner’s speeded classification task. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 113, 929–940. doi: 10.2466/15.21.28.PMS.113.6.929‑940
    https://doi.org/10.2466/15.21.28.PMS.113.6.929-940 [Google Scholar]
  45. Hockett, C. F.
    (1978) In search of Jove’s Brow. American Speech, 53, 243–313. doi: 10.2307/455140
    https://doi.org/10.2307/455140 [Google Scholar]
  46. (1987) Refurbishing our foundations. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/cilt.56
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.56 [Google Scholar]
  47. Hopkins, W. D. , & Savage-Rumbaugh, S.
    (1991) Vocal communication as a function of differential rearing experiences in Pan paniscus: A preliminary report. International Journal of Primatology, 12, 559–583. doi: 10.1007/BF02547670
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02547670 [Google Scholar]
  48. Imai, M. , & Kita, S.
    (2014) The sound symbolism bootstrapping hypothesis for language acquisition and language evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 369(1651), 20130298. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0298
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0298 [Google Scholar]
  49. Iverson, J. M. , & Goldin-Meadow, S.
    (1998) Why people gesture when they speak. Nature, 396, 228–229. doi: 10.1038/24300
    https://doi.org/10.1038/24300 [Google Scholar]
  50. Jespersen, O.
    (1933) Symbolic value of the vowel i. In O. Jespersen (Ed.), Linguistica (pp.283–303). Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Joseph, J. E.
    (2015) Iconicity in Saussure’s linguistic work, and why it does not contradict the arbitrariness of the sign. Historiographia Linguistica, 42, 85–105. doi: 10.1075/hl.42.1.05jos
    https://doi.org/10.1075/hl.42.1.05jos [Google Scholar]
  52. Kearton, C.
    (1925) My friend Toto: The adventures of a chimpanzee, and the story of his journey from the Congo to London. London: Arrowsmith.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Kellogg, W. N. , & Kellogg, L. A.
    (1933) The ape and the child: A study of environmental influence upon early behavior. Oxford: Whittelsey House.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Kelly, B. F. , Leben, W. , & Cohen, R.
    (2003) The meanings of consonants. Proceedings of the 29 th Berkeley Linguistics Society (pp.245–253).
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Kendon, A.
    (1991) Some considerations for a theory of language origins. Man, (N. S.) 26, 602–619. doi: 10.2307/2803829
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2803829 [Google Scholar]
  56. Klink, R. R.
    (2000) Creating brand names with meaning: The use of sound symbolism. Marketing Letters, 11, 5–20. doi: 10.1023/A:1008184423824
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008184423824 [Google Scholar]
  57. Köhler, W.
    (1929) Gestalt psychology. New York: Liveright.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Laidler, K.
    (1980) The talking ape. New York: Stein and Day.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Lameira, A. R. , Hardus, M. E. , Kowalsky, B. , de Vries, H. , Spruijt, B. M. , Sterck, E. H. M. , Shumaker, R. W. , & Wich, S. A.
    (2013) Orangutan (Pongo spp.) whistling and implications for the emergence of an open-ended call repertoire: A replication and extension. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134, 2326–2335. doi: 10.1121/1.4817929
    https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4817929 [Google Scholar]
  60. Lameira, A. R. , Hardus, M. E. , Bartlett, A. M. , Shumaker, R. W. , Wich, S. A. , & Menken, S. B. J.
    (2015) Speech-like rhythm in a voiced and voiceless orangutan call. PLoS ONE, 10, e116136. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116136
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0116136 [Google Scholar]
  61. Lameira, A. R. , Hardus, M. E. , Mielke, A. , Wich, S. A. , & Shumaker, R. W.
    (2016) Vocal fold control beyond the species-specific repertoire in an orang-utan. Scientific Reports, 6, 30315. doi: 10.1038/srep30315
    https://doi.org/10.1038/srep30315 [Google Scholar]
  62. Lameira, A. R. , Maddieson, I. , & Zuberbühler, K.
    (2014) Primate feedstock for the evolution of consonants. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(2), 60–62. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.10.013
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2013.10.013 [Google Scholar]
  63. Laporte, M. N. C. , & Zuberbühler, K.
    (2010) Vocal greeting behavior in wild chimpanzee females. Animal Behaviour, 80, 467–473. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.06.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.06.005 [Google Scholar]
  64. Leavens, D. A.
    (2003) Integration of visual and vocal communication: Evidence for Miocene origins. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26, 232–233. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X03480060
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X03480060 [Google Scholar]
  65. Leavens, D. A. , Russell, J. L. , & Hopkins, W. D.
    (2010) Multimodal communication by captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Animal Cognition, 13, 33–40. doi: 10.1007/s10071‑009‑0242‑z
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-009-0242-z [Google Scholar]
  66. Levinson, S. C. , & Holler, J.
    (2014) The origin of human multi-modal communication. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society B, 369, 20130302. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0302
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0302 [Google Scholar]
  67. Lewis, M. , & Frank, M.
    (2016) The length of words reflects their conceptual complexity. Cognition, 153, 182–195. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.04.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.04.003 [Google Scholar]
  68. Liebal, K. , Waller, B. , Burrows, A. , & Slocombe, K. E.
    (2013) Primate communication: A multimodal approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139018111
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139018111 [Google Scholar]
  69. Lockwood, G. , & Dingemanse, M.
    (2015) Iconicity in the lab: A review of behavioral, developmental, and neuroimaging research into sound-symbolism. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1246.
    [Google Scholar]
  70. Lupyan, G. , & Casasanto, D.
    (2014) Meaningless words promote meaningful categorization. Language and Cognition, 1–27.
    [Google Scholar]
  71. MacLarnon, A. M. , & Hewitt, G. P.
    (1999) The evolution of human speech: The role of enhanced breathing control. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 109, 341–363. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096‑8644(199907)109:3<341::AID‑AJPA5>3.0.CO;2‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1096-8644(199907)109:3<341::AID-AJPA5>3.0.CO;2-2 [Google Scholar]
  72. Maddieson, I.
    (2011) Consonant-vowel ratio. InThe World Atlas of Language Stuctures Online. Max Planck Digital Library.
    [Google Scholar]
  73. Marshall, A. J. , Wrangham, R. W. , & Arcadi, A. C.
    (1999) Does learning affect the structure of vocalizations in chimpanzees?Animal Behaviour, 58, 825–830. doi: 10.1006/anbe.1999.1219
    https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1999.1219 [Google Scholar]
  74. McNeill, D.
    (2012) How language began: Gesture and speech in human evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139108669
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139108669 [Google Scholar]
  75. Miles, L.
    (1990) The cognitive foundations for reference in a signing orangutan. In S. T. Parker & K. R. Gibson (Eds.), “Language” and intelligence in monkeys and apes (pp.511–539). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511665486.021
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511665486.021 [Google Scholar]
  76. Mitani, J. C. , & Gros-Louis, J.
    (1998) Chorusing and call convergence in chimpanzees: Tests of three hypotheses. Behaviour, 135, 1041–1064. doi: 10.1163/156853998792913483
    https://doi.org/10.1163/156853998792913483 [Google Scholar]
  77. Moos, A. , Smith, R. , Miller, S. R. , & Simmons, D. R.
    (2014) Cross-modal associations in synaesthesia: vowel colours in the ear of the beholder. i-Perception, 5, 132–142. doi: 10.1068/i0626
    https://doi.org/10.1068/i0626 [Google Scholar]
  78. Newman, S. S.
    (1933) Further experiments in phonetic symbolism. American Journal of Psychology, 45, 53–75. doi: 10.2307/1414186
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1414186 [Google Scholar]
  79. Newmeyer, F. J.
    (1992) Iconicity and generative grammar. Language, 68, 756–796. doi: 10.1353/lan.1992.0047
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.1992.0047 [Google Scholar]
  80. Ohala, J. J.
    (1994) The frequency code underlies the sound symbolic use of voice pitch. In L. Hinton , J. Nichols , & J. J. Ohala (Eds.), Sound Symbolism (pp.325–347). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  81. Owren, M. J. , Amoss, R. T. , & Rendall, D.
    (2011) Two organizing principles of vocal production: Implications for nonhuman and human primates. American Journal of Primatology, 73, 530–544. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20913
    https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.20913 [Google Scholar]
  82. Patterson, F. G. , & Linden, E.
    (1981) The education of Koko. New York: Holt, Rinhart & Winston.
    [Google Scholar]
  83. Perlman, M. , & Cain, A. A.
    (2014) Iconicity in vocalization, comparisons with gesture, and implications for theories on the evolution of language. Gesture, 14(3), 320–350. doi: 10.1075/gest.14.3.03per
    https://doi.org/10.1075/gest.14.3.03per [Google Scholar]
  84. Perlman, M. , & Clark, N.
    (2015) Learned vocal and breathing behavior in an enculturated gorilla. Animal Cognition, 18, 1165–1179. doi: 10.1007/s10071‑015‑0889‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-015-0889-6 [Google Scholar]
  85. Perlman, M. , Clark, N. , & Johansson Falck, M.
    (2015) Iconic prosody in story reading. Cognitive Science, 39(6), 1348–1368. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12190
    https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12190 [Google Scholar]
  86. Perlman, M. , Dale, R. , & Lupyan, G.
    (2015) Iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols. Royal Society Open Science, 2(8), 150152. doi: 10.1098/rsos.150152
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.150152 [Google Scholar]
  87. Perlman, M. , & Gibbs, R. W. Jr
    (2013) Pantomimic gestures reveal the sensorimotor imagery of a human-fostered gorilla. Journal of Mental Imagery, 37, 73–96.
    [Google Scholar]
  88. Perlman, M. , & Lupyan, G.
    (2015) The vocal iconicity challenge!Paper presented at Protolang 4 conference , Rome, Italy.
    [Google Scholar]
  89. Perlman, M. , Patterson, F. G. , & Cohn, R. H.
    (2012) The human-fostered gorilla Koko shows breath control in play with wind instruments. Biolinguistics, 6, 433–444.
    [Google Scholar]
  90. Perlman, M. , Paul, J. Z. , & Lupyan, G.
    (2015) Congenitally deaf children produce iconic vocalizations to communicate magnitude. In D. C. Noelle , R. Dale , A. S. Warlaumont , J. Yoshimi , T. Matlock , C. D. Jennings , & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp.1853–1856). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  91. Perlman, M. , Paul, J. Z. & Lupyan, G.
    (under review). Deaf and hearing Chinese children improvise iconic vocalizations that communicate magnitude to American listeners.
    [Google Scholar]
  92. Perlman, M. , Tanner, J. E. , & King, B. J.
    (2012) A mother gorilla’s variable use of touch to guide her infant: Insights into iconicity and the relationship between gesture and action. In S. Pika & K. Liebal (Eds.), Developments in primate gesture research (pp.55–72). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/gs.6.04per
    https://doi.org/10.1075/gs.6.04per [Google Scholar]
  93. Perniss, P. , & Vigliocco, G.
    (2014) The bridge of iconicity: From a world of experience to the experience of language. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 369, 20130300. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0179
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2014.0179 [Google Scholar]
  94. Perry, L. K. , Perlman, M. , & Lupyan, G.
    (2015) Iconicity in English and Spanish and its relation to lexical category and age of acquisition. PLoS ONE, 10(9), e0137147. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137147
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0137147 [Google Scholar]
  95. Pika, S.
    (2014) Chimpanzee grooming gestures and sounds: What might they tell us about how language evolved. In D. Dor , C. Knight , & J. Lewis (Eds.), The Social Origins of Language (pp.128–140). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665327.003.0010
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665327.003.0010 [Google Scholar]
  96. Pinker, S.
    (1994) The language instinct. New York: William Morrow & Co. doi: 10.1037/e412952005‑009
    https://doi.org/10.1037/e412952005-009 [Google Scholar]
  97. Pisanki, K. , Cartei, V. , McGettigan, C. , Raine, J. , & Reby, D.
    (2016) Voice modulation: A window into the origins of human vocal control?Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 20, 304–318. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2016.01.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2016.01.002 [Google Scholar]
  98. Ramachandran, V. S. , & Hubbard, E. M.
    (2001) Synaesthesia: A window into perception, thought and language. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8, 3–34.
    [Google Scholar]
  99. Russon, A. , & Andrews, K.
    (2010) Orangutan pantomime: Elaborating the message. Biology Letters, 7(4), 627–630. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0564
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2010.0564 [Google Scholar]
  100. Sandler, W. , Meir, I. , Padden, C. , & Aronoff, M.
    (2005) The emergence of grammar: systematic structure in a new language. Proceediings of the National Aacademy of Sciences, 102, 2661–2665. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0405448102
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0405448102 [Google Scholar]
  101. Sapir, E.
    (1929) A study in phonetic symbolism. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 12, 225–239. doi: 10.1037/h0070931
    https://doi.org/10.1037/h0070931 [Google Scholar]
  102. Saussure, Ferdinand de
    ([1916] 1966) Course in general linguistics. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    [Google Scholar]
  103. Schel, A. M. , Townsend, S. W. , Machanda, Z. , Zuberbühler, K , & Slocombe, K. E.
    (2013) Chimpanzee Alarm Call Production Meets Key Criteria for Intentionality. PLoS ONE, 8(10), e76674. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076674
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076674 [Google Scholar]
  104. Senghas, A. , Kita, S. , & zuryek, A.
    (2004) Children creating core properties of language: evidence from an emergining sign language in Nicaragua. Science, 305, 1779–1782. doi: 10.1126/science.1100199
    https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1100199 [Google Scholar]
  105. Shintel, H. , Nusbaum, H. C. , & Okrent, A.
    (2006) Analog acoustic expression in speech communication. Journal of Memory and Language, 55(2), 167–177. doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2006.03.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2006.03.002 [Google Scholar]
  106. Simner, J. , Cuskley, C. , & Kirby, S.
    (2010) What sound does that taste? Cross-modal mappings across gustation and audition. Perception, 39, 553–569. doi: 10.1068/p6591
    https://doi.org/10.1068/p6591 [Google Scholar]
  107. Skinner, B. F.
    (1957) Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. doi: 10.1037/11256‑000
    https://doi.org/10.1037/11256-000 [Google Scholar]
  108. Taglialatela, J. P. , Savage-Rumbaugh, S. , & Baker, L. A.
    (2003) Vocal production by a language-competent Pan paniscus . International Journal of Primatology, 24, 1–17. doi: 10.1023/A:1021487710547
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021487710547 [Google Scholar]
  109. Taglialatela, J. P. , Russell J. L. , Schaeffer J. A. , Hopkins, W. D.
    (2011) Chimpanzee vocal signaling points to a multimodal origin of human language. PLoS One, 6, e18852. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018852
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018852 [Google Scholar]
  110. Tanner, J. E. , & Byrne, R. W.
    (1996) Representation of action through iconic gesture in a captive lowland gorilla. Current Anthropology, 37, 162–173. doi: 10.1086/204484
    https://doi.org/10.1086/204484 [Google Scholar]
  111. Thompson, P. D. , & Estes, Z.
    (2011) Sound symbolic naming of novel objects is a graded function. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 2392–2404. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2011.605898
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2011.605898 [Google Scholar]
  112. Tomasello, M.
    (2008) Origins of human communication. Cambridge: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  113. Van Schaik, C. P. , Van Noordwijk, M. & Wich, S. A.
    (2006) Innovation in wild Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii). Behaviour, 143, 839–876. doi: 10.1163/156853906778017944
    https://doi.org/10.1163/156853906778017944 [Google Scholar]
  114. Watson, S. K. , Townsend, S. W. , Schel, A. M. , Wilke, C. , Wallace, E. K. , Cheng, L. , West, V. , &  Slocombe, K. E.
    (2015) Vocal learning in the functionally referential food grunts of chimpanzees. Current Biology, 25, 495–499. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.032
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.032 [Google Scholar]
  115. Wich, S. A. , Swartz, K. B. , Hardus, M. E. , Lameira, A. R. , Stromberg, E. , & Shumaker, R. W.
    (2009) A case of spontaneous acquisition of a human sound by an orangutan. Primates, 50, 56–64. doi: 10.1007/s10329‑008‑0117‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-008-0117-y [Google Scholar]
  116. Wilson, M. L. , Hauser, M. D. , & Wrangham, R. W.
    (2001) Does participation in intergroup conflict depend on numerical assessment, range location, or rank for wild chimpanzees?Animal Behaviour, 61, 1203–1216. doi: 10.1006/anbe.2000.1706
    https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.2000.1706 [Google Scholar]
  117. Witmer, L.
    (1909) A monkey with a mind. The Psychological Clinic, III, 179–205.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ape vocal behavior; iconicity; language evolution; multimodality; vocalization

Most Cited

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error