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"How about you stop ‘grunting’ and start using words."

Some are drawn to the remote but seductive question of what form the first human language may have taken. If you have teenage children you will be well acquainted with the 'grunt'. A mode of communication which tests the patience of loving parents.
"How about you stop ‘grunting’ and start using words." But you don't say you are the embodiment of the  slow linguistic evolution of the species. Or how about grunting your way out of the animal into the human state? You don't say any of that

On a more serious level the grunts complained of are not natural phenomena but already signs, an admittedly crude but still authentic element of culture. To misquote Tolstoy, 'All grunts are not identical, either in the way they sound or in what they may be taken to mean. They depend for their interpretation on how grunters grunt, in response to what, and who they grunt to (or at). They are not to be so easily dismissed as prehistoric intruders in our otherwise eloquent midst.
So our task is to decode the grunts. I wish you well.

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