Bow-wow theories suggest that the first human languages developed as onomatopoeia, imitations of natural sounds. The name "bow-wow theory" was coined by Max Müller, a philologist who was critical of the notion. The bow-wow theory is largely discredited as an account of the origin of language, though some contemporary theories suggest that general imitative abilities may have played an important role in the evolution of language.
- Moran, John; Gode, Alexander (1986). On the origin of language. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-73012-3.
- Thorndike, E.L. (2 July 1943). "The origin of language" (PDF). Science. New series. 98 (2531): 1–6. doi:10.1126/science.98.2531.1. PMID 17747316.
- Sprinker, Michael (January–March 1980). "Gerard Manley Hopkins on the origin of language". Journal of the History of Ideas. 41 (1): 113–128. doi:10.2307/2709105. JSTOR 2709105.
- Malle, Bertram F. (2002). "The relation between language and theory of mind in development and evolution". In T. Givon & B.F. Malle. The Evolution of Language out of Pre-language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ISSN 0167-7373.