(no subject)

manaster at umich.edu manaster at umich.edu
Tue Feb 2 21:14:03 UTC 1999

I can't speak for Noam, but I think I am his ilk,
and I did talk to him recently about the evolution of
lg capacity.  I think the view he has (which I dont
accept) is that the lg capacity did come about rather
abruptly, but this does not say anything about how
long it then took for people to figure out how to use
it.  That is, this capacity can only be used if you
have specific phonemes, specific roots, etc., and no
one doubts that these are not innate and may have taken
time to evolve. It's like the human ability to do
theoretical computer science.  Obviousl we are born
with some degree of ability in this regard, unlike
say a parakeet, but until the 1930's, there was no
way to use this faculty.

On Fri, 29 Jan 1999 iffr762 at utxvms.cc.utexas.edu wrote:

[ moderator snip ]

> 	I get the impression at times that Chomsky and his ilk think that.
> The grammar gene leading to the "abstract organ" which presumably permits
> and creates language.  Evolution is not their strong suit, for very good
> bad reasons ...

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