Rousseau's Approach to the Origin of Language

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Altinors S. A.

BILIG, no.63, pp.1-10, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Title of Journal : BILIG
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-10


This paper is about Rousseau's approach to the long-debated issue of the origin of language. It begins with an overview of the matter and then undertakes an evaluation of Rousseau's position within its historical context and his sources of inspiration. To this end, other philosophers like Condillac or Renan, who have examined the question, are also discussed. Rousseau locates the origin of language in the very first gestures and vocal signs such as screams, when man lived in a state of nature, and suggests that these improved and became language as we know it in their historical course. He also argues that the first determinant cause that urged men to speak was not their reasoning, but their passions.