LINGUIST List 4.476

Thu 17 Jun 1993

FYI: Genie, Thanks

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  1. Larry Horn, One step forward, one step back
  2. Susan Herring, Responses to query on Canadian (au)

Message 1: One step forward, one step back

Date: Sun, 13 Jun 93 21:27:02 EDOne step forward, one step back
From: Larry Horn <LHORNYALEVM.bitnet>
Subject: One step forward, one step back

Today's New York Times Book Review contains a full-page rebuttal by David
Rigler, the psychologist in the Genie case who was savaged by Russ Rymer in
his book and Natalie Angier in her equally infamous review. Rigler disputes
the charge that the psychologists, linguists, and social workers who treated
and researched Genie were at each other's throats and did more harm than good
to Genie herself. None of the linguistic details are covered in the response,
however, and linguistically naive readers of the Times (of whom we might
imagine there are more than a few) will still be under the misapprehension
that the case of Genie represents a counterexample to Chomsky's theory of
language (as presented, of course, in The Event). In the same issue of the
Book Review, a review by an anthropologist named Sarah Blaffer Hrdy of a book
"Visions of Caliban: On Chimpanzees and People" by Pale Peterson and Jane
Goodall, mentions in passing--as if it were obvious to all--that "chimps can
also solve problems and learn sign language". Well, I suppose it could have
been worse; Hrdy doesn't actually assert (or paraphrase Peterson and Goodall
as asserting) that chimps can learn ASL, but I think it's still a pretty
egregious claim to make in 1993. Is it worth rebutting, any of you ASL
specialists out there?
 Larry Horn
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Message 2: Responses to query on Canadian (au)

Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 16:09:02 CDResponses to query on Canadian (au)
From: Susan Herring <susanutafll.uta.edu>
Subject: Responses to query on Canadian (au)

Thanks to all who responded with references to work on (au) in
Canadian English. Responses were unanimous in pointing us to
work by Jack Chambers at the University of Toronto.

Regards,
Susan Herring
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