BASIC PROPOSITIONS OF THE MOTOR THEORY
> [See Science 27 Feb 2004 The Motor Route Try this Experiment!]
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"Words are the natural evolutionary product of the functioning of the brain. The forms of individual words are not arbitrary but directly derived from and related to the meaning of the words."
"Speech is the result of an evolutionary exaptation: the establishment in humans of a direct connection between the cortical motor control system and the articulatory apparatus(see Jürgens)"
"In the evolution of language, shapes or objects seen, sounds heard, and actions perceived or performed, generated neural motor programs which, on transfer to the vocal apparatus, produced words structurally correlated with the perceived shapes, objects, sounds and actions."
"The motor program generating the word, an articulatory gesture, also generates an equivalent bodily gesture. Gesture mediates between word-structure and word-meaning. In the case of a different word in a different language for the same meaning, a similar final gesture is generated by a different intermediate trajectory associated with different speech-sound elements going to form the different word."
"The gesture associated with the meaning of any word can be observed by mentally transferring the sound-structure of the word (the articulatory gesture) to the musculature of the arms."
"Children are able to acquire words effortlessly, that is to link a word to an object or action, because, when the motor control system has sufficiently matured, the neural motor program generated by the perception of the particular object or action is matched instantaneously with the equivalent motor program generated on hearing the word which, in the particular language community, is structurally derived from the perceived object or action."
[Two recent papers: Gallese V., Lakoff G. The Brainís Concepts: The Role of the Sensory-Motor System in Reason and Language. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 2005, 22:455-47 and Mirror neurons and the social nature of language: The neural exploitation hypothesis(in press) are fully consonant with and provide in depth support for the Motor Theory of language origin and evolution set out here. Gallese hypothesizes that brain mechanisms which originally evolved for sensorimotor integration were adapted as new neurofunctional architecture which allowed language to emerge directly linked to action.]