Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 08:14:58 -0500 From: "Dennis R. Preston" Subject: Re: Language and Intelligence Rudy, I ran my fingers before I read your contribhution. You have said much better what I tried to get at. It clearly ain't at vocabulary. Dennis > 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]