Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brain and Intuitive Grammar

Studies have shown that the brain is intuitively good at some things. Grammar, for example. According to Daniel Kahneman, author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow” and winner of the nobel prize in economics, the human brain appears to be a good intuitive grammarian. Any normal baby brain born on this planet is able to learn any of the languages and dialogues that are spoken on this planet. By the age of four, children conform to the rules of grammar of their native language(s)—effortlessly—even though they have no idea that grammar rules even exist. They also pick up the inflections or dialects or speech styles of their immediate environment, which may differ based on the locale or section of the country even though the basic “language” is the same. A couple years ago I visited Nova Scotia where the Acadians (French-speaking individuals) lived. More recently I visited New Orleans where the Cajuns lived (slang for Acadians who migrated from Nova Scotia to South Louisiana in the 18th century). Watch for examples of dialects or speech styles in upcoming blogs.

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