----- Original Message -----
From: Guillaume JACQUES
To: phoNet@egroups.com
Sent: Friday, May 19, 2000 5:39 PM
Subject: Re: [phoNet] Digest Number 24

Gillaume writes:
... There are racial differences in the vocal track (shape of teeth,the implantation of nerves etc) but so limited that we can easily compensate the difference in the articulators to produce the same sound.
Well, the differences, if they exist, are rather subtle. There is enough unity to serve as a common denominator for all humans, no doubt about it; and human learning is flexible. I hope you don't interpret my modest critique of universalism as racist. Of course a San child brought up in an English-speaking environment will learn to speak flawless English, easily overriding her/his innate preferences. And a European child exposed to a click language will finally accept the fact that clicks CAN be interpreted as regular phonemes. But subtle differential tendencies may produce and perpetuate cumulative effects in geographically and genetically isolated populations.
The difference between a european male and female is much greater that the difference between of a euorpean with a chinese.
... which is surely why men and women don't speak quite the same language despite the inevitable far-reaching convergence resulting from membership of the same speech community ;)


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