Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 01:37:32 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Re: Language and Intelligence We Texans likewise have to concentrate on hearing a really heavy, thick Northern Cities accent -- if it's even comprehensible, e.g. bag:beg. Vocabulary size is a reliable measure of language development in children, but it is historically characteristic of reductionist thinking in psychology to equate vocabulary with intelligence. It is a good indicator of size of vocabulary, which is presumably an index of knowledge of language and of cultural knowledge as indexed by vocabulary, at least in certain domains. But there is a clear circularity there, and to make it indicative of intelligence, unless one is very restrictive in identifying this "intelligence" as tautologically equivalent to knowledge of language, is an unwarranted leap. Happily, many in psychology have moved beyond this misidentification to recognize a number of different types of "intelligence", not all of which (indeed most) are indexed by linguistic (i.e., vocabulary) knowledge. Even within the realm traditionally considered "intelligence", there are clearly differential abilities to think/conceptualize/comprehend abstract matters. Mathematicians and physicists belong at the top of this pile, with linguists somewhat below, and historians and archeologists somewhere below that. However, a historian may have a larger vocabulary than a linguist, and both have larger vocabularies than a mathematician. This is not to suggest that the relationship is an inverse one, just that there is no necessary relationship. --Rudy Troike (rtroike[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]