Episode 188: The Language Myth (featuring Vyvyan Evans)

How do children learn language so quickly?

For decades, the prevailing view has been that they’re born with it. But a new breed of linguists is overturning this view with evidence from human evolution, cognition, and actual children.

Among these researchers is Dr Vyvyan Evans, author of a new book The Language Myth. Vyv speaks with Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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Promo with Kylie Sturgess

Show notes

Google adds Irish to list of Gmail options

You can learn Irish on Duolingo

10 Reasons Why Irish Is an Absolutely Awesome Language

The publication page for “The Language Myth: Why Language Is Not an Instinct”. Also in paperback.

Vyvyan Evans explains why there is no language instinct.

Semantic satiation semantic satiation semantic satiation

Show tunes

‘Birthday Beat’ by Shlomo
from the album Shlomoshun Redux

‘Knock Knock Knock’ by Spoon
from the album They Want My Soul

Image credit: http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2014/11/into-the-intro-the-language-myth/

1 Comment

  1. This discussion did a rather poor job of presenting the Chomskyan position. The idea of innate grammatical knowledge wasn't pure speculation, or just a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that the problem looks too hard; it was a conclusion that is argued for on the basis of poverty-of-stimulus arguments. There is some debate over whether poverty-of-stimulus arguments actually go through, but it's a substantive debate where both sides grapple with "the actual data". Suggesting that no one on "the Chomskyan side" backs up their position with data is quite disingenuous.

    It would be great if you would consider doing a follow-up episode that discusses the poverty-of-stimulus arguments for Chomsky-style innate knowledge.

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