“He never learned to speak more than a few words, but he developed some sensitivity to sounds and mastered table manners and polite comportment.” (Douthwaite, 2002, p. 21)
Here, Douthwaite describes historical accounts of a feral child discovered in Germany and taken in to live out his life under the care of “civilized” keepers. Psychologists and neurologists have long devoted attention to cases of “wild children,” those who begin maturation outside of human society, with little or no human contact. Cases involving such children inform understanding of the cognitive processes inherent to language development. Consider how the effects of environmental deprivation compare to the effects of deafness on the development of language. Another influence on language production and comprehension is neurological disruption. For example, strokes—brain damage due to blockage of blood supply or hemorrhage—have helped to differentiate important sites in the brain, as well as their functional implications.
For this Discussion, consider influences of environmental deprivation, deafness, and neurological disruption on language acquisition, production, and comprehension.
Douthwaite, J. V. (2002). The wild girl, natural man, and the monster: Dangerous experiments in the age of enlightenment. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Post an explanation of how environmental deprivation, deafness, and neurological disruption (e.g., stroke or brain injury) might influence language acquisition, production, or comprehension. Provide examples for each to support your response.
Hagoort, P., & van Berkum, J. (2007). Beyond the sentence given. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 362(1481), 801–811.
Beyond the Sentence Given by Hagoort, P. & van Berkum, J. in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Copyright 2007 by The Royal Society. Reprinted by permission of The Royal Society via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Pinker, S. (2010). The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(2), 8993–8999.
The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language by Pinker, S. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(2). Copyright 2010 by National Academy of Sciences/Proceedings. Reprinted by permission of National Academy of Sciences/Proceedings via the Copyright Clearance Center.