Keywords: Discourse Coherence; Executive Functions; Language Evolution; Pragmatics; Tool Making.
In this article we analyze a specific aspect of language processing and through this analysis we discuss more general issues about the nature of language and its evolution. At the foundation of this paper there is a precise methodological assumption: the idea that some of the cognitive skills involved in language processing (comprehension and production) are also implicated in its origins. Specifically, we propose that a key role in the advent of language is played by the skills that regulate the processing of an essential pragmatic property: discourse coherence. Through the investigation of such skills, strongly tied to the development of the making of prehistoric stone tools, we propose that an evolutionary plausible model of language has to be based on the priority of pragmatics on grammar and that the dawn of language is grounded in the cognitive systems involved in the representation and control of action responsible for the processing of discourse coherence.