Thoughts on social relationships and language in hominid evolution

Randall White

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper argues that the evolution of language must have been dependent on the development of social relationships. A broad range of ideas pertaining to the evolution of human language is first critically reviewed. Our state of knowledge with regard to neural, psychological, anatomical and sociocultural aspects of language evolution is outlined. It is argued that a number of major transformations between 100,000 and 35,000 years ago are best understood as reflecting the emergence of language-as-we-know-it. The selective advantages of this development are discussed. It is then suggested that this must have been a long, tortuous process, relying importantly upon the development of an appropriate set of social relations. Finally, consideration is given to the likely nature of social organization and relations prior to a modern level of language competence.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)95-115
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 1985

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Communication
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Thoughts on social relationships and language in hominid evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this