On "universal truths" — part 2

May 17, 2011 by

In a recent posting, I discussed the research by Michael Dunn and his colleagues that questions there being any universals about human language. Another recent study, this one conducted by Jennifer Culbertson, who worked as a...

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Um… and uh… clues

Apr 15, 2011 by

Linguists have often wondered how children manage to learn their native language from exposure to adult speech that contains so much noise: hesitations, restarts, mumbling and other types of disfluency. But recent research published...

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Learning is unlearning

Apr 13, 2011 by

In yesterday’s posting I described some recent research that suggests that when it comes to language, babies are not born as a tabula rasa. Rather, all humans are born pre-wired (or pre-programmed) to learn a human language....

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Mom’s voice activates a newborn’s brain

Apr 12, 2011 by

Following the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosophers and educationalists for a long time thought that babies are born as a tabula rasa, knowing nothing and open to all possibilities. And when it comes to language, it is clear...

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Da-da-da… — Duh!

Apr 4, 2011 by

Recently a YouTube video has gone viral in which two baby boys appear to “talk” to each other in those unmistakable baby sequences of “da-da-da”. The YouTube video is titled “twin baby boys have a...

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The goddess of English

Jan 5, 2011 by

While English is not — and most likely will never be — the official language in the United States, it plays that role in many other countries in Africa and Asia, even where it is not the most widely spoken language. One...

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