How did the almost 6,000 languages of the world come into being? Researchers have tried to simulate the process of developing a new communication system in an experiment — with surprising results.
People create reference to actions and objects via signs that resemble things. The prerequisite for this is a common ground of experience between interaction partners. Partners also coordinate by imitating each other such that they use the same signs for the same things.
The studies demonstrate that communication cannot be reduced to words alone. When there is no way to use conventional spoken language, people find other ways to get their message across.MORE