Friday, February 25, 2005

I’m talkin’ over ‘ere!

I came across this passage in The Meme Machine and thought it demonstrated the current, commonly held view of language in science(zeitgeist). Consequently, I thought it was worth sharing.

“Our language capacity is largely innate and not a by-product of intelligence of a general ability to learn - though this was once a fiercely debated issue. The fact is that people do not learn language by being systematically corrected for their mistakes, nor by listening attentively and slavishly copying what they hear. Instead, thy just seem to pick it up, using minimal input to build up richly structured grammatical speech. Note that by grammar I mean the natural structures of languages that distinguish who did what to whom or when it happened or in what order – not the sort of rule-book grammar that used to be taught at school.”
- Susan Blackmore, The Meme Machine, page 87


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