ARTS1691 - Autonomy of Language

Specific Language Impairment

  • Children who have problems with function words/inflectional suffixes. Only linguistic knowledge is impaired, not general intelligence.
  • This distinction goes both ways; people with low IQ can have very good language skills

Dissociation of Language and Cognition

  • There are many cases of people who are intellectually crippled in some areas, but savants in others.
    • E.g. Christopher can learn new languages super fast, but has an IQ too low to measure
    • Interestingly he cannot learn made up languages
  • Important: Language is not equal to communication

Studies of Families

  • Studies of large, multi-generational families have found that in one case over half of them have the same problem of being unable to reliably indicate tense of a verb.
  • This leads us to believe that language may be genetic.
  • Gopnik was the researcher in this.