Re: Origin of Language

@#$%!?! (
Fri, 28 Jul 1995 04:48:20 GMT

I don't know if language complexity is really a definable term. Some
languages like Mandarin and English are morphologically simple, that is
the words don't take many different forms. That is usually offset by
syntactic complexity. You could rearrange a Latin sentence a great deal
before you change the meaning. Move one noun or one particle in English
and you have a completely different meaning.

It seems different languages balance morphological and syntactic

: Frankly, I'd like to see some support for the assertion that all
: languages are of comparable complexity. Has anyone actually compared
: _all_ languages? I doubt it. This sounds suspiciously like one of
: those dogmatic generalities made by the folks who are determined to
: find equality everywhere, regardless of the cost to factual accuracy.

It is somewhat dogmatic. Since I can't define complexity, I can't really
test it.

However, healthy children of immigrants seem to have no problem learning
the language or languages of their new country--they become native
speakers. I've never heard of a counterexample (which doesn't mean there
are none). That suggests we all have the same basic language capability.

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