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Re: evolution of syntax

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Thursday, November 3, 2005, 6:00
One thing that seems to get lost in the shuffle in discussions of
innateness is that there are many well-documented cases of
individuals who really are completely isolated from language
for a long period of time, and who, as a consequence, never
develop language.  This goes for both hearing and deaf children.
David Perlmutter's observation that in order for a language to
develop there must be a community is something that comes to
mind when reading this abstract.  Regardless of the differences
in culture, there is, no doubt, an attempt at communication
between the children and their parents and others.  That is,
they're a part of a community, even if they share no common
language.  It would seem to me that if language is really innate,
a community would not, in fact, be necessary, and that there
could not exist a person without language (barring physical
trauma, etc.).

As a general comment, all the evidence I've ever seen in favor
of innateness has been incredibly underwhelming.  I'm always
open to hearing more, though.

"A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison