Cultural Transmission

How do you think humans acquire language? Is it different from animals?

R. Boyd and P. Richerson (1985) states that 'culture' can mean different things. However, they define 'culture' as how individuals gained information through social learning. Manning and Dawkins (1998) further explains that 'almost everything of importance in human behaviour that is transmitted in this way from one generation to the next is described as culture'.

YouTube Video

An important human behaviour, language for communication is no different. We acquire language through social learning as well. Shown in the video, it explains the importance of social interaction, especially at a young age.

It is described that we are not born with the ability to produce utterances in a specific language. They are non-instinctive to us and they are not inherited from genes of our parents. To define cultural transmission, it can be said to be "a process whereby a language is passed on from one generation to the next". (Yule, G. , 2010)

One obvious example that cultural transmission is evident in human language is a girl, whose parents locked her in her bedroom for 13 years without human interaction.

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So is human language different from animals?
Animals, on the other hand, are born with a set of specific signals that are produced instinctively. (Yule, G. , 2010) This is an example of a cat who is giving birth. Listen closely to the newborn kittens first sounds produced.

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They are actually high-pitched cat sounds. Unlike babies, who does produce utterances, kittens have 

Lit review on subject


Explain about the video and how this relates to cultural transmission of human language


Feral Children VS Abandoned animals

Feral Children

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VS Abandoned Animals