Re: Human language (long)

Gregoire (
21 Jan 1997 03:33:45 GMT

In article <>, (John
A. Halloran) wrote:

-> Let me change the subject slightly and ask you as a linguist what you
think of
-> the argument that mechanisms for language must be wired into the brain as a
-> result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution because (they say) the
-> fundamental structure of language is the same in all the world's languages.
-> I question whether those who make this assertion have thought about the
-> different language viewpoints that accusative languages versus ergative
-> languages have. And other languages are polysynthetic. What do you think
-> about their argument?
Apparently, the passive voice--not centered in the self as chief
controller of events--was common in many tribal languages (like Dakota)
[see Werner M€ller,
"The 'Passivity' of Language amd the Experience of Nature: A Study in the
Structure of the Primitive Mind" (1968). It's old and but one example.]
It does reveal that *specific* structures are not "wired in" to the brain,
but some sort of linguistic intuition for minute categorizing must be.
Certainly there is no prewiring for self-recognition, a vital point I
would think. Language, thought, and consciousness (as we know it) must
always (it appears) be relational. (Though a few thousand years of such
relations would no doubt prepare a neonate mind for such input. Some
research indicates that expanded areas of the brain use neurons formerly
employed for vision in prelinguistic primates for langauge. Do you see
what I'm saying?)

Greg Nixon <>

"Creation is thus nowever, coming straight out of the Voidness of this timeless Moment€and thus creation is not the creation of things, of material, or of substance, but the creation of dualisms."
(Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness, p. 100).

"Be cheerful while you are alive."
(Ptahhotpe, 24th century B.C.E.)