What is the definition of “word?” Merriam-Webster defines a word as “a written or printed character or combination of characters representing a spoken word.”
When did humans start talking to each other? First, an important fact stated in HowStuffWorks is that “Animals may not be able to form words, but they can certainly communicate.” As for the answer, Smithsonian Magazine states, “By studying the way our primate relates like chimpanzees use their hands naturally, and can learn human signs, some scientists suspect that language developed first through gestures and was later made much more efficient through speech.”
So, humans have the ability to communicate without speech. They can use their hands to communicate, which is proven with American Sign Language.
What is American Sign Language? The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states, “American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, natural language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages, with grammar that differs from English. ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face.”
However, humans need to know the exact meaning of a word so they can understand each other. As a result, a dictionary is a great learning tool.
Bryant, C. W. (2021, April 29). How did language evolve? HowStuffWorks Science. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/evolution/language-evolve.htm
Handwerk, B. (2019, December 11). Human ancestors may have evolved the physical ability to speak more than 25 million years ago. Smithsonian.com. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/human-ancestors-may-have-evolved-physical-ability-speak-more-25-million-years-ago-180973759/
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Word. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/word
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). American sign language. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/american-sign-language