Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 19:59:12 -0400 From: "Bethany Dumas, UTK" Subject: Re: myths about language I am finally reading Pinker's _Language Instinct_. It presents a list of common misconceptions about language (pp. 17-18), then apparently (I have not read the entire book yet) spends much of the rest of the book debunking them. Pinker's list: 1. language (L) is "man's [sic] most important cultural invention" 2. L is the "quintessential ex. of [human] capacity to use symbols" 3. L is "a biologically unprecedented event irrevocably separating [humans] from other animals." 4. children learn to talk from role models and caregivers 5. sagging educ. standards have led to a debasement of standards, grammar, etc. 6. English is utterly irrational I have assigned the book as supplemental, required reading in Ling 200. Bethany