Noam Chomsky proposed his Language Acquisition Device to explain human language learning. People are most flexible to acquire language until some 14 years old; nobody is able merely to memorize language, and there has to be a logical capacity we can name a device that works in the process. A device may be something devised, or a faculty that devises.
Everyday language yet has a device for a thing that could be operated externally, from the outside. Association with such governance could not be my ideal.
1. Why insist on a device: brains entire are for thinking?
At the break of the 19th and 20th centuries, then through most of the 20th century, people insisted on specialization. Researchers had to work the particular, or were rejected as unscientific. Linguistics was separate from psychology, as neurology was from endocrine knowledge. Human speech was stated to belong with two brain areas, Broca and Wernicke.
Let us view Wernicke, Broca, and brain gnostic matter. Gray had the type of tissue for “psychic areas”.
Areas of localization, hemisphere lateral surface: motor area in red; general sensations in blue; auditory area in green; visual area in yellow; psychic portions are in lighter tints.
Source: Gray; click to see over Wikimedia.
Brain gnostic matter has knowledge — of a sense, as hearing or vision; or for bodily movement — the way a particular person has developed it. The knowledge is individual and part psychological, hence the name “psychic”. Broca belongs with brain gnostic matter for bodily movement, and Wernicke with parietal associative tissue to neighbor on personal gnosis for hearing and eyesight. The Greek word gnosis means knowledge. The word gnostic derives from it.
Both Broca and Wernicke cannot work in isolation; they work with brain broader cytostructure. We derive the word shape cyto- from Greek, for a bodily cell. Brain areas were first discerned based on cellular structuring.
Damage to parietal function may cause dysphasia/aphasia, dyscalculia, dyslexia, apraxia, and agnosia, read over Wikipedia.
2. Brain frontal lobes are indispensable for human acting on purpose. Do we say or write our Ts and Zs without goal-oriented thinking?
3. Would people have been able to evolve language in some “non-time” and “non-space”?
The limbic system participates in human orienting responses of psychological components. The responses are not limited to the behaviorist fight-or-flight. They are part the decision making, when we look around, pick up a text, or choose to read on. Limbic feedback with the frontal lobes is part our knowing we are ourselves.
Wikimedia: The limbic system; Source: Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical Gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. Wikijournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. Creative Commons license BY 3.0.
The brainstem relays for the gray tissue, as well as the autonomic nervous system. It is very important in cognitive mapping, and the mapping is part in our building our egos and language skills.
Wikimedia, The brainstem; Source: Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical Gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. Wikijournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. Creative Commons license BY 3.0.
This is why I prefer the notion of a human language faculty, over the Language Acquisition Device. Language skill needs the brain entire, and that regardless of age.
We are well into the 21st century now. Language and psychology have gotten along together well, as psycholinguistics. The discipline emerged in the second half of the 20th century, heart and reason against behaviorism. Even if our knowledge on human brains and languages is very general, we can comprehend this simple argument.
The brain does not have a superior structure we could call “the boss”. Brains make inner networks. One time, one network or its part is more active. Another time, it is another network or part of a network.
Whether we call it a soul, a personality, or brain epiphenomenon (if we are extremely tired), the human person orients and re-orients for activity without a permanently dominant gyrus or sulcus. To entertain a political metaphor, brain structures would be more of a democracy. There is no king or queen tissue to preside.
The above is neither to aver, nor to refute on spirituality. As a broken leg is no proof the human never could walk, brain injury is no evidence there is nothing more to human heads than tissue. As a vista is no probe into actual landscape, human thought cannot confirm on eternal or immortal reasoning. Existence of such reasoning or its reference for earthly living remains a question of faith: material reality does not have principles for non-matter.
Back to brains alone, there is no universal way to see, hear, feel, or think. Brains make inner networks within human individual experience, also purely intellectual experience. Behaviorist, stimulus-response methods, if they can, give only fragmented features, which may be of use for artificial intelligence, but cannot represent proficient language skill. Quality would be too much to give up on.
This is why I do not see sense in recognizing “brain language devices” and scanning them for parameters. Proficiency can be attained only via learning, never via a physiological mend. Infant brain scans for example, cannot tell anything about the very same person’s language skill in just a few years. Feel welcome to read:
Apples on noses
There is sense in making logic that human brains can use. Feel welcome to some grammar tactics for American English.
Grammar Web Log, Travel in Grammar