Re: Neanderthal innovation
(ooh, linguistics. My favourite!)
So, how do you all feel about the theories that human language acquisition was similar to how a child acquires language today?
Born with thoughts, undefined, followed by intake of a lot of stimuli -- sights, sounds, some with linguistic meaning, some with other kinds of meaning, some with none. Then the first attempts at communicating -- sounds alone (and in an order of, to simplify, easiest to produce to harder, front of the mouth to back), then words alone -- often standing in for whole groups ('dog' to refer to dogs, cats, horses, cows). Then words grouped in the simplest of grammars (here there's the parallel with the pidgin trade languages), then the slow but steady acquisition of the complex grammar of the native tongue.
Language is an amazing thing. And whatever it is that we humans have, our children seem to be born with it. Any child can learn any language, given the input of interactive stimuli. If you speak English to your child, your partner speaks Romanian, your daytime babysitter only speaks Spanish, and you send your child to a French school...chances are, after a period of some linguistic confusion, your child will have the basis of all 4 languages.
One interesting idea about child language acquisition is that kids do not learn from negative evidence. Which means, you can't correct a child's grammar. They just don't hear it. They'll generalize a rule "He see'ed the dog", and until they learn the exception to that rule, they'll ignore any attempts on the part of parents to correct it. "Honey, he saw the dog." "That's what I said, he see'ed the dog."
I wonder how that fits into the idea of early human language acquisition?
"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."
Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd