Re: Natural Language and Natural Selection

From: Liz Lee (
Date: Thu Apr 11 1996 - 11:52:01 BST

Is language a biological capacity or a cultural invention? I thought I
was on track but now I've come to write it up I realise I haven't got a
good argument for either case. If language has developed from thought
as (I think) Vygotsky suggested then the cultural invention holds -
language became necessary to represent known information and pass it
from one person to another - but the biological processes were already
in place to be able to do this, so was the ability to speak an
evolutionary development that was only activated when the social
situation arose demanding it? A friend has told me about a study
whereby a group of children were raised without ever being spoken to
(obviously some time ago - and, I think, Russian) and consequently had
no language facility - do you know anything about this?
Would appreciate some guidance!

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