Language, according to the anthropologist Robin Dunbar, evolved because gossip is a more efficient version of the “social grooming” essential for animals to live in groups.Folks, I freely admit that theories about what caused language to develop in humans are rarely if ever based on more than thoughtful speculation. This is the case simply because there is precious little hard evidence regarding the origins of language. Fine. My acknowledgment of that is now on record. That said, this claim that language evolved BECAUSE OF its gossip function strikes me as a clear case of bullshit. But hey, I could be wrong.
I would point the curious reader to Jackendoff's Foundations of Language as a fair primer on these issues.