In a message dated 30/06/03 20:38:40 GMT Daylight Time, magwich78@... writes:
Mandarin is a tonal-accent language. Thus, it seems natural to
conclude that its speakers use both temporal lobes to speak/listen to
it, using the left hemisphere to interpret word-order and such, and
the right hemisphere to interpret tone.
I really don't think that the article had much hyperbole or that the
researchers were trying to prove that Chinese are somehow inferior to
Yes, in languages that have tones, people listen to the tones. So what?
It's the CONCLUSIONS the evolutionary psychologist school always make of their research that are the problem, and then what non-academics make of these conclusions. Let's look at what is being implied:
"Chinese is harder than English." This is bollocks. Chinese and English are roughly equivalent in difficulty, and probably more so than some other pairs of languages that could be mentioned. All human languages that are transmitted by normal inheritance are roughly equivalent in complexity, despite their diversity.
"Tones are something weird and people that have tones, like the Chinese, think differently from "us"." This is bollocks. Languages that have tones can lose them and languages that don't have them can acquire them. Look at Swedish.
"The English language is suitable for imposition on the rest of the world because thicko foreigners with half a brain can cope with it, and native speakers of English can be forgiven for not bothering to learn anything else". I don't think so.
Let's not even bother remarking about pieces of research that look at English and A.N. Other and claim to have discovered something about language in general. There are enough linguists doing this without lay people like psychologists starting.
I stand by what I said. Evolutionary psychologists are obsessed with trying to prove there are differences between ethnic groups. Then racists use these "findings" to justify differences in esteem for different ethnic groups.