Nature article in the news
bischoff.st at gmail.com
Thu Apr 14 19:31:24 UTC 2011
I managed to get the link to the original article
Evolved structure of language shows lineage-specific trends in word-order
and there is also a similar (to the LA Times) but perhaps more informative
general article at Nature
some "sober" reflection from Martin towards the end.
On Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 3:20 PM, Daniel Everett <dan at daneverett.org> wrote:
> Thanks for this, Shannon. Fascinating stuff.
> My book-length study on culture and language (Cognitive Fire: Language as
a Cultural Tool) will be out from Random House in early 2012. The folks in
NZ are doing some interesting research. Michael Corballis's new book, The
Recursive Mind: The Origins of Human Language, Thought, and Civilization (
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9424.html) is almost out and looks to be a
very worthwhile read.
> On Apr 14, 2011, at 3:12 PM, s.t. bischoff wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > Here is an LA Times story that may be of interest...haven't had a chance
> > track down the original Nature article yet...would be curious to hear
> > reactions.
> > Culture trumps biology in language development, study argues Researchers
> > construct evolutionary trees for four linguistic groups and conclude
> > cultures, not innate preferences, drive the language rules humans create
> > contrary to the findings of noted linguists Noam Chomsky and Joseph
> > Greenberg.
> > Are the rules of language encoded in our
> > genes<
> > or are they primarily shaped by the speaker's cultural context?
> > Leading linguistic thinkers have argued that our brains are hard-wired
> > languages to follow certain sets of rules. But a team of scientists is
> > challenging that premise in a study published online Wednesday in the
> > journal Nature.
> > The team used biological tools to construct evolutionary trees for four
> > language families and found that each of the families followed its own
> > idiosyncratic structural rules, a sign that humans' language choices are
> > driven by culture rather than innate preferences.
> > The authors say their findings run contrary to the idea of Noam
> > Chomsky<
> > generative grammar, which says the brain has hard and fast ordering
> > for language. They also contradict the "universal rules" of Joseph H.
> > Greenberg, who said languages tended to choose certain patterns over
> > Cheers,
> > Shannon
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