November 03, 2007

Phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny

Rhymes With Orange takes on the development of civilization, using the familiar framing in which the language of early human beings is like the language of early childhood:

There's a bit of child phonology ([d] for [ð]) and two bits of child syntax (negation via sentence-initial no, the fronted topic NP all dose).  Of course, these features also appear in the English of adults whose command of the language is imperfect -- in "foreigner talk".  In either case, the English is that of speakers who are aiming at English but haven't entirely gotten there yet.

Posted by Arnold Zwicky at November 3, 2007 03:00 PM