06th - 11th October 2016
bande annonce

The Origins of Language

Sunday 12th October 2008 from 16h30 to 18h00
Salle 2 / Grand Amphithéâtre

Directed by
Bernard Favre
Produced by
Crescendo films

Documentary, France, 2008, 52 min

Where does this strange faculty of ours come from? Along with the ability to walk on two feet, the invention of language is regarded as one of the most important stages in the adventure of human development.

Until the 1980s, speech and language, the brain and the larynx were inextricably linked, as if destiny had inexorably led man to discover spoken language. Articulate speech was estimated to have appeared about 100,000 years ago with Homo sapiens. But a new discovery was made in the early 90s : a larynx belonging to a hominid from the Neanderthal period (200,000 years ago) changed everything. Man could have spoken before Homo sapiens.

The search for the origins of language is a veritable scientific road movie. From Canada to Japan, through France and Germany, we compare and contrast the work of palaeontologists, anthropologists, genetics experts, linguists and Artificial Intelligence specialists to explore the most recent and pertinent hypotheses concerning research into language. The use of cartoons in certain animated sequences punctuating the narrative represents and embodies the development and evolution of Man as the film recounts his history.


Debate with :

  • Bernard Favre, director
  • Nathalie Tzourio-Mazoyer, in charge of the Groupe d'Imagerie Neurofonctionnelle du Langage (GINLANG) in the University of Caen and Paris Descartes

Know more

More information on the productions' website : http://www.crescendofilms.com/