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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Media: BBC Website, "First Lang Gene Discovered"

Submitter: Martin Wynne

Submitter Email: martin.wynne@ota.ahds.ac.uk
Media Body: An article on the BBC website reports claims to have found the language
gene. You can read it online a

The journalist seems to me to have confused grammatical and
articulatory ability. The article appears to claim that the gene
sequence in question controls facial muscles, yet a mistake in this
sequence causes agrammaticism.

The field of linguistics is summarised in the article:

"Scientists argue that there must be a genetic basis to speech and

It is universal, complex and acquired almost instinctively by children
at a young age."

Martin Wynne
Linguistics Officer
Oxford Text Archive

Issue Number: 13.2096
Date Posted: August 15, 2002

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