《Biological Foundations of Language》Ch9: Toward a biological of language development
Assigned reading: Page 378
(11) The raw material from which the individual synthesizes building blocks for his own language development cannot be the cause of the developing structure as evidenced by the autochthonous beginnings in the infant’s language acquisition. Primitive stages of language are simply too different from adult language to be regarded as a direct mirroring of the input. Nor is there any evidence that the adults surrounding the child are the causative or shaping agents that determine language onset or his course of development ( see discussion of need as explanation in Chapter Four and of language teaching in Chapter Seven). Purposiveness cannot, logically, be the mainspring for language development.
(12) Social settings may be required as a trigger that sets off a reaction. Perhaps a better metaphor still is the concept of resonance. In a given state of maturation, exposure to adult language behavior has an excitatory effect upon the actualization process much the way a certain frequency begins to vibrate in the presence of the sound. In the case of language onset, the energy required for the resonance is, in a sense, supplied by the individual himself; if the trigger-analogy is preferred, we might say that he unwinds himself. The resonance analogy, on the other hand, illustrates more vividly how slight variations in the frequencies that impinge on the resonator affect the quality or nature of the resonance; it is comparable to the child’s hearing of French resulting in his speaking of French, each natural language being a sleeted frequency band from the limited possible frequency range that is capable of eliciting resonance. Once the critical period during which resonance may occur is outgrown, one language is firmly established, and exposure to new and different natural language is no longer resonated to.
Thus the propagation and maintenance of language behavior in the species are not comparable to cultural tradition which is handed down from generation to generation to generation. The individual does not serve as a passive vehicle or channel through which information is transmitted; instead, he is am autonomous unit constituted in very much the same way as other units around him, ready to behave in the same fashion as they do. His behavior is activated by social contact, and there is some superficial adaptation to the structure of their behavior, but it may be well to remember that he can only function if he can synthesize (recreate might be another word) the entire language mechanism out of the raw material available to him. The raw material is of no use unless it can be broken down as food proteins are broken down into amino-acids and build up again into the pattern of his in-dwelling latent structure. Thus, the individual is seen as functioning by virtue of his own power supply, so to speak; he constructs language by himself (provided ha has the raw material to do with it), and the natural history of his development provides for mechanism by which he will harmonize his function with that if other equally autonomously functioning individuals around him; the outer form of his language will have the outer form of the language of his native community.
(13) Even though biological constitution of the individual is a essential replica of its progenitors, there are , naturally, individual variations. In fact, there are two distinct levels that are relevant to language: in the formation of the latent structure and in the actualization process from latent to realized structure. The former may be due to variations in the maturational coursed; the latter is primary due to variations in peripheral function and structure such as the vocal tract or the ears. Variations on these two levels explain the main facts about language constancies, language change, and language universals.
Actualization: 實施Resonator:共鳴器,共鳴體,共振器Excitatory:刺激的;興奮的Resonance:共振Un-wind:打開Impinge: 打、撞Band: (無線電的)波段,頻帶Out-grow: 長得比...快(或大、高)Propagation: 增殖,繁殖,廣傳Autonomous: 獨立
amino-acids: 氨基; 氨基的+酸
In-dwelling latent： Dwelling：生活的Latent：潛伏性的,隱藏的隱約的指印Progenitor: 祖先,先輩,原著
在語言開始的時候，就某個程度來說，是每個獨立的個體來提供所需的要震動的能量 ; 如果是採用『共振類比的』方式，我們就可以說：其實是這個個體『解開』這『引信』（能量）。從另一個角度來說，『共振類比』可以很明顯的顯示出：各種打在震動器的不同頻率，非常細微的震動，這種細微的震動，有可能會影響其震動器的品質，或是震動器本身。這種方式，也可用來解釋法國小孩的聽力影響說話的例子。每一種自然語言，都有一種可選擇的、有限的頻率，即『頻率波段』，在這個波段範圍內，就可以『引起』共振。但，曾經有段時間，是共振『過大的』，特別是結構很完整的語言，或是對於『沒有震動反應的』新奇而又不同的自然語言。
所以，在各物種之間， 語言行為的傳播和維護，是和世代相傳的文化不相容的。 人類並不是『被動的』資訊傳播的器具或是頻道; 反而是，獨立自主的單位，其組成的方式，就像其他身邊的『單位』一樣，會在同一種『流行趨勢』之下。 社會接觸影響著人類的行為，也有一些對於人類行為結構的『人為改變』，也許比較好的解說方式是：人類如可能從身邊緣使的材料中，『合成出』整個語言機制：即『重新創造出其他的字』。除非，這些『原始的材料』像蛋白質一樣能夠被分解成氨基酸，而且能再重新組成『潛在的生活樣子』，不然的話，這些原始的材料，是沒用的！所以，看來是可以這麼說：人類是依他自己的力量來運作語言，即：『自己建構語言』（假使有原始的材料提供給他的話）。人類語言的歷史發展，也提供了人類對於環境，自然運作的結果：人類的『外部語言形式』，對於本身的社群來說，是會造成其他的『外部形式』語言。
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