Thursday, May 30, 2019
The Power of Words Essay -- Psychology Essays
The Power of WordsCommunication and language are not always synonymous. Gesticulations and facial expression can convey certain messages that often stigma verbal expression unnecessary. Although I appreciate the endless possibilities that are associated with speaking, our primary means of communication, I have discovered that the human capacity for speech office not be as extremely innate as the linguist Noam Chomsky claimed. A few years ago, I had the privilege of encountering a thirty-five year-old cleaning woman named Joann at a summer camp for adults with multiple disabilities. Being extremely autistic, Joann was unable to close her mouth, let alone form distinguishable words. Instead of talking, her hint method of communication was to make clicks and guttural noises when she was upset or wanted something. Unlike the case of Genie, who was reared in a small room without human contact, Joann and many an(prenominal) other autistic people are not raised in silence and should hav e theoretically learned to talk (as per Chomskys theory). The camp counselors encouraged Joanns attempts at speech and tried to build her verbal skills, but they were never able to progress beyond monosyllabic words. Why wasnt she able to speak and why did they burst?To a certain extent, language is innate, but Daniel Dennett trivialized the depth and complexity of linguistics. He wrote, ...its so effortless...for even slow children to learn to speak. They arent really learning at all, any much than birds learn their feathers. Language, and feathers, just develop in species... (Dennett 388). This generalization is horribly arrogant and unfair to people like Joann, for whom any form of verbal communication is just effortless. I think that some form of learn... ...heoretically could be speaking or trying to covey some message when she makes those utterances, as if she had completely bypassed the evolution of clicks into words. It has been suggested by psychologists that there is a critical period for language acquisition which theorizes that children lose the capacity to readily absorb new languages by the end of their toddler years. The point that children are able to learn new languages so quickly shows that to some extent, language is innate, but speech is not acquired so easily. Joann will probably never be able to speak like other people, but there exists the possibility of her understanding much more than Dennett would give her credit for. Works CitedDennett, Daniel C. Darwins hard Idea. Simon and Schuster New York, 1995.Pennisi, Elizabeth. The First Language? Science 27 Feb. 2004 1319-1320.