In a message dated 30/06/03 16:22:20 GMT Daylight Time, hubeyh@... writes:

It's official: Chinese is more difficult than English. The Chinese need both sides of the brain to grapple with challenges of Mandarin, but English speakers listen with only half their minds on the job. Sophie Scott, a psychologist at the Wellcome Trust, and colleagues from hospitals in Oxford and London performed brain scans on volunteers as they listened to their native languages ... blah, blah, blah

Even allowing for newspaper hyperbole, these claims are the sort of extravagant conclusions you'd expect from "evolutionary psychologists". Because behind it all there is usually a less than camouflaged aim of proving where at all possible that there are fundamental "differences" between ethnic groups. Where this all leads you can guess and even if most of the academic figures associated with this school of thought feign surprise at anybody drawing racist conclusions from their work, less reputable characters are falling over themselves to use it to try and give their own nauseous theories a pseudo-scientific gloss.

Yes, of course the brain behaves differently when when somebody is processing Chinese. There are more homophones, so it would hardly be surprising if a literate Chinese speaker inevitably thought, consciously or subconsciously, about the means used to differentiate between these homophones in the written language. Writing is *visual*, d'oh. Did we really need a psychologist to tell people this?!?

I do wish these evolutionary psychologists would bugger off and leave language to linguists.

BTW, what has this got to do with Nostratic?