The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
Language is an autapomorphy found only in our lineage, and not shared with other branches of our group such as primates. We also have no definitive evidence that any species other than Homo sapiens ever had language. However, it must be noted straightaway that ‘language’ is not a monolithic entity, but rather a complex bundle of traits that must have evolved over a significant time frame…. Moreover, language
crucially draws on aspects of cognition that are long established in the primate lineage, such as memory: the language faculty as a whole comprises more than just the uniquely linguistic features.
The main points of the passage can be summarized as follows:
In summary, the passage emphasizes the multifaceted nature of language, its evolutionary development, and its reliance on cognitive abilities such as memory. It also underscores that while language is unique to humans, it is not a standalone trait and incorporates elements beyond language-specific features.
The passage mentions that language is a complex bundle of traits that must have evolved over a significant time frame. It also states that language draws on aspects of cognition that are long established in the primate lineage, such as memory. This suggests that language did not emerge in isolation but rather built upon preexisting cognitive capacities.
Memory plays a crucial role in language, as language involves storing, retrieving, and processing linguistic information. Through the use of memory, individuals can learn and recall words, phrases, grammar rules, and other linguistic elements. Memory also allows for the retention and transmission of cultural knowledge and language acquisition in individuals and across generations.
Therefore, Option A accurately captures the notion that language evolved by incorporating linguistic features onto existing cognitive abilities, notably memory.
Option B is partially correct as it acknowledges the evolution of language and its connection to memory. However, it does not capture the idea that language is a complex bundle of traits or the absence of definitive evidence for language in other species.
While Option C captures the idea that language is not a single, uniform entity, it fails to encompass the complete message of the passage. The passage emphasizes that language is more than just the end result of linguistic evolution. It highlights that language also relies on cognitive features that are established in the primate lineage, such as memory. Additionally, the passage mentions that there is no definitive evidence of language in other species. These aspects are not adequately represented in option C.
Option D is partially correct in stating that language is distinctively human. However, it fails to capture the complexity of language and the fact that it is a bundle of traits. It also overlooks the possibility that evidence for language in other species may be inconclusive rather than entirely nonexistent.
In comparison to these options, Option A stands out as the best summary because it specifically addresses the evolution of language and highlights the role of cognition, particularly memory, in its development.