Post Number:#46 April 1st, 2012, 10:11 pm
Sorry, I should have been clearer.Antone wrote:Which it seems to appear from this post that you didn't.
I think, because of our differing conceptions of language we are being lead to different conceptions of what is to be classed as a language. Which will explain why I am skeptical that the "animals follow rules of grammar," and so on. If you could give some examples, or links, that would be helpful. But for the moment, I don't think we can talk about this subject—due to our differing conceptions of language.Antone wrote:It's a lot more than being a parrot. The animals follow rules of grammar, initiate conversation; ask for things and even combine words in creatively unique and untaught ways to produce new (more complex) ideas and so forth... So by any rational definition it is a language. A fairly simple one, but still a language.
I think a better way to think about it is like this (and I hope I haven't used this one before). Human's undoubtedly have an innate ability to grow legs. That is undeniable. But, that in itself is not enough for the growth of human legs. The person also needs the environment to provide the right nutrition for leg growth. Once the environment has provided that, then leg growth will invariably occur.Antone wrote:But the point is exactly the same. The environment somehow triggers something that isn't learning. It somehow sets parameters, without learning what those parameters are. It's a bit like saying that a swimmer doesn't really need water to swim... the water just triggers the innate ability to swim. It sets the parameters for where the swimmer can swim. But the swimmer doesn't actually need the water to swim.
If I looked back at the right post, then you were talking about gender roles and socialisation. I think there is a crucial difference between language and gender roles, though; which allows one to be taught, and learnt, and the other to be internal. Ultimately, for the child to pick up the gender roles all he/she needs to do is mimic human behaviour. That is, all that the child needs is there in the environment. But the difference with language is that the environment is not fully equipped to teach a child a language. For instance, how could the environment possibly teach recursive structures to a child, which have the potential to produce an infinite number of sentences? So, I think there is a big key difference between gender roles and language. That's if I read your post properly, you might have been meaning something other than gender roles.Antone wrote:You said the child's environment is too input starved to LEARN something as complex as talking. But I showed an example of a child picking up on barely perceptible environmental clues to learn a fairly complex set of behavior patters--which, by the way must be carried out by some biological mind/brain organ too, don't you think? So it puzzles me how you could miss the relevance.