A problematic prediction of nativism

Daniel Everett dan at daneverett.org
Tue Oct 26 00:02:31 UTC 2010

I believe that  Phil Lieberman was the first to point this out. Nativism predicts that some peoples could learn some languages but not others. This is so because we know that cultures can affect genes (even leading within the last 5,000 years to new genes) and that there can also be random  mutations. So there ought to be some mutation, nativism predicts it in fact, that prevents some people from learning some languages. Different populations would develop different genotypes over time.

It is possible that this is correct, but that it is an accident of the current population of languages that we haven't seen this yet. But it is a prediction.

It is not a prediction, however, of the idea that language is a result of more general cognitive properties.


More information about the Funknet mailing list