LINGUIST List 8.125

Tue Jan 28 1997

Disc: Myths in linguistics

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Victoria A. Fromkin, Re: 8.39, Sum: Myths in linguistics

Message 1: Re: 8.39, Sum: Myths in linguistics

Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 11:08:16 -0800
From: Victoria A. Fromkin <>
Subject: Re: 8.39, Sum: Myths in linguistics

Never got to the end of this seemingly endless list of myths now being
put forth as exposing so-called myths many of which have solid
scientific evidence to support the hypothese. Unfortunately this
summary may lead to more myths being spread than "brought to light"
One should, I think, distinguish between real myths which are WIDELY
HELD views unsupported by any empirical evidence, and some idiotic
statement one heard someone say at some time, and differences of
opinion, and alternative hypotheses. To say something is a myth does
not make it so. For example, there is more written about the critical
age than the three rereferences cited by the person who thinks this is
a myth, e.g. the excellent work by Susan Curtiss and others on Genie,
Chelsea, etc As David Crystal, in The Cambridge Encyc. of Lg points
out, the notion of a critical period was first used by ethologists
studying the origin of species-speciric behavior, with early studies
on goslings and rats. It may be a controversial hypothesis re
language acquisition but it is not a myth.
It would take too long through the long list presented in the
commuication. ButI hope others on the Linguist List will feel more
energetic than I in trying to deal with the views presented.

V Fromkin

"To get back one's youth, one has merely to repeat one's follies" 
	Oscar Wilde
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