[EDLING:1041] RE: Origin of language

lbenderphd at COMCAST.NET lbenderphd at COMCAST.NET
Sat Oct 15 20:26:26 UTC 2005

Thank you for the reply. As a classroom ESL teacher, I have been looking for a theory that integrates these four aspects of language learning. Most teachers/administrators/parents believe children will "just learn English" naturally. And with the No Child Left Behind Act, teachers are forced to teach only to the test, not to the child. 

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Sorry I missed the beginning of this conversation. Where can I get more information about Gerald's theory?
Linda Bender 

Just to give you a general idea, below I have copied a few paragraphs out of the introduction to "The Child's Secret of Learning."  (published August, 2005)

Gerald van Koeverden

 " What is the child’s secret? The majority of linguists are so dumbstruck by the enormity of the task of learning one’s first language they have virtually washed their hands of the question and passed it on to the biologists! They assert that it must be innate. Already, geneticists are working on the idea that language originates in the genes, as though humans are programmed with the right genetic “software” at conception and just need time to mature and ripen with age.
Is learning then only the gradual actualization of this software? What about all our other skills like driving a car, writing poetry, or using a computer? How did we learn them? Since the linguists have failed to discover the origin of language in consciousness, it is up to the philosopher to at least ask the right questions before abandoning the idea altogether. Through exploring the basic structure and dynamics of language, can we rediscover it as the resolution of a creative synthesis? Can it be shown that learning our first language, like any other skill, is a personal work of art emerging from the interaction of  brain and body as one integrating unit, in making one “common sense” of the world? "

 " In Part A, we begin by exploring our personal experience of everyday skills like driving a car, singing a song, and doing arithmetic, before going on to the dynamics of insight in playing bingo and the art of racing dune buggies. Then we can incorporate both emotions and physics into our understanding of learning to type. This leads naturally into the first chapter of Part B on some reflections about the nature of language as garnered through learning a second one, and then two chapters on how a child even develops his or her first language.
With these basic images down, the reader can move into Part C—the theoretical part describing the functioning of our “operating system.” I have rooted this quarrelsome quartet squarely in both the emotional and thinking centers of the brain to catch all the inputs from the sensory organs as well as enable it to motor into action. The artist is the “antenna” of the system, reveling in the whole kaleidoscope of perceived and felt sensation. The theorist processes the artist’s raw perceptions originating ideas, which in turn allows the empiricist to be able to conceive the world and all the things in it. Finally, it is up to the idealist—the “transmitter”—to choose the right purpose to bring them all together and do something.  Instead of there being only one type of creativity, we have “four-into-one.”
But having dissected the person into four parts of a cycle, it is then difficult to see how all four can be active in one person at once. That is why I developed a metaphor earlier in Part B on language. The basic sentence provides us with an ideal framework. The artist’s spontaneous emotion fits the felt energy of the “verb.” The theorist—our deep thinker—perceives the ideas for the “subject” in which the empiricist can dwell to conceive and study her “objects.” To complete it, the idealist provides the right intentions for the “subject” as the agent of the action to motivate her to fulfillment in the right aspirations for her “objective.” (For the sake of literary convenience, I have made the artist and theorist male, and the empiricist and idealist female throughout the book.) This basic structure and dynamics of the sentence is very flexible. As young children, we invented it through struggling to make one common sense out of the quartet of our operating system. As adult!
 s, we use it as a template to accommodate all four characters separately, in various combinations, or all four at once! " 
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