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Language and Life Timelines
Wang, William S-Y.
|Issue Date:||2019-03-26 09:10:09 (UTC+8)|
Compared with other primates, humans have an extended lifespan and are blessed with the additional stage of ＂childhood＂ for learning, both of which are products of cultural evolution. Our brains grow at an explosive rate during our first two years, tripling its weight at birth, soaking up an astonishing amount of information about the physical world as well as the culture into which we are born. Language is a complex set of independent but interrelated skills, acquired at different timelines to different degrees of proficiency, with a great deal of variation across individuals. Speaking any language well requires the acquisition of a full set of perceptual sensitivities to the phonetic distinctions significant for that language. It also requires the coordination and fine control of several hundred muscles for respiration, phonation, and articulation. Although the motor skills for speaking a new language come much more easily to the young, the cognitive components of language, not its motoric components, can be mastered quite late in life, such as its vocabulary and grammar. The various timelines for language and many other aspects of behavior have their sources in the interaction of genes with environment. Several genetic pathologies surface either in infancy, or in the sunset years. While many of us live out the newly available years in good health, some suffer from various types of neuro-degeneration, and foremost among these is a severe form of dementia called the Alzheimer's disease. The challenge of language disorders has mushroomed in size and become manifold more complex with the world aging so fast. Hopefully due consideration in this area of research will be given to the biological and cultural diversity that comprise our entire humanity
|Relation:||政大中文報, 30, pp.5-36|
|Appears in Collections:||[政大中文學報 THCI Core] 期刊論文|
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