The first speech sounds were grunts and variations on grunts. Understandably, since conditions were primitive, cold, often wet, grunting was common. Grunts were synonymous with and became syllables. So we can say the people first spoke in syllables, although the more intelligent may have spoken in phonemes. But nobody understood the latter or took them seriously, not unlike the relating to some linguists today, who speak in a language remarkably like Cro-Magnon. Attempts to set up a meeting between linguists and Cro-Magnons have so far proved fruitless, which is a shame because Cro-Magnons dote on fruit. The results would be interesting and perhaps even seminal. It took millennia for primitive man to string together syllables into words; primitive women apparently succeeded in doing so at an earlier period.
We believe the first words were curses, many of them cut short, which puzzled historiolinguists at first until it was realized that they were cut off by the descending of a club on the speaker’s head, a serious detriment to advancement linguistically, until invention of the defensive helmet, not dissimilar to the modern hockey helmet, made from smoked leather.
The oft- advanced theory that language originated from crying or laughing has no basis in fact. Cro-Magnon did little of either, especially the latter, as there were few things to laugh about, other than a club missing its mark which sometimes provided a brief guffaw before a counter-club descended. The people adhered to the dictum “less is more” with respect to speech. Speech made a giant leap forward with the discovery of the conch shell, which they loved to talk into, although the answers were often disappointing.
The invention of tools was a boon to language development. Until then the only implement named was the club, called “klub” or “club” (hard “c”, as primitive man eschewed the soft “c” as effeminate. In truth, only primitive women employed the soft “c”, principally as an inducement to sexual relations). With other tools coming into use, new words were needed. And more complex language developed to meet the need for instruction on how to work the tools.
Some historiolinguists believe the demise of the caveman resulted from an obsession with language and polysyllabic words which their smaller brain capacity would not cope with.