Re: Human language (long)

John A. Halloran (
8 Jan 1997 20:03:03 -0700

In article <> writes:

>Now I am taught, that the women, who master in speech, who learn new
>languages with a considerable ease, who are always blamed for too
>much talking and who always claim, that men do not talk with them,
>has learned the *mother tongue* as an accidental side effect of the
>howls of hunting males!

I was talking about the larynx descending in the vocal tract for its value in
producing calls that would help members of a hunting pack to locate each
other. The main factor in language as in speech or talking is the brain, not
the vocal tract. I would have no problem believing that women invented the
first words of language.

>Why is speech learned so early in childhood? Why is the female
>stressed by such production of milk, to grow so rapidly brains big
>enough to learn grammatic and a host of words? Try to learn a new
>language! A child at the age of three learns it with ease. Why?
>Because speech was *needed* early in the childhood.

This is not quite correct. The brains of young children are very plastic and
are good at mastering anything new, not just language. For those who think
our brains are hard-wired for language, consider that the linguistic
hemisphere of many left-handers is the right hemisphere, and that the right
hemisphere of a young child with a missing left hemisphere can acquire speech
in just a slightly degraded fashion. The plastic brain of a young child can
adapt to a variety of learning tasks.


John Halloran