kurisuto wrote:I don't quite agree : once again, IMO, you're confusing creating a language with acquiring one, as well as having the ability to use one and using one. The innate ability is the ability to speak : you don't have to learn it, and they didn't have to invent it.
It's more than just that. A child doesn't just learn to grunt, the child somehow acquires the complete grammatical apparatus and a huge vocabulary of a language they are exposed to, without anyone teaching them. By the age of 4, a child who is completely dependent on other people to survive (essentially) has somehow mastered an entire language. A 4-year old Japanese child can understand and use complex sentence patterns that would confound people who have studied Japanese as a second language for longer than the child has been alive. There is no other way to explain this except that the ability to learn and use language is an innate ability of human beings -- not just the ability to make noises, but the ability to learn language. It's very hard to believe that such an innate ability could exist for something that had to be consciously invented.
Not only learning language but our brain's ability to process language is something that is much more than just the ability to hear sounds.
What you have to learn (and create beforehand I think) is a specific language.
But there's no evidence of that. It's like saying that humans have always had legs, but until somebody invented the idea of walking, no humans could walk. You can't prove that's false, but it's extremely unlikely.
And I would add that the first language didn't appear at the same time that the ability to speak (I think they continued the moanings for a while), so once again, I would say that the ability to speak and specific languages are in no way related (except of course that the latter needs the former, but the former doesn't necessarily imply the latter, just like some primates can use the sign language and others don't, but they all have the ability to use it).
No primates are able to use sign language. Some primates have been able to learn some simple signs to express some very basic things, but no primate has ever actually learned a sign language, or even learned anything remotely approaching a sign language. The complete failure of researchers to teach language to non-humans is one of the major pieces of evidence for the theory that there is something hard-wired into our genetics that enables us to use language. (Another major piece of evidence is the fact that if a child is not exposed to any language before a certain age, they will be unable to learn a language for their entire lives.)
One thing you have to remember is that language is a lot more than just a collection of words for things. It's not like people just started pointing at things and randomly saying "tree", "rock", "cat" and then once they had named enough things, that was a language. It's easy to imagine someone pointing at a thing and assigning a certain sound to it. It's much harder to imagine people inventing verb declension, relative clauses, particles, and other essential features of language. And it's even harder to imagine that invention somehow becoming genetically inherited.