Nancy Gish wrote:
> All languages, in any case, reproduce complex grammatical structures
> even if they were lost in one form. For example, an incredible number of
> young people in Nicaragua are deaf because they had no antibiotics that
> were not also dangerous in having deafness as a side effect. The first
> generation of signers used a kind of creole, but their children automatically
> developed a complete and complex grammar. That seems to be how
> language acquisition works. Judith Kegl, at my university, has worked in
> Nicaragua on this.
Interesting -- and it lends credibility to the speculation of the
anthropologist Ian Tattersall that language was, in the first instance,
invented by children (or rather invented a number of different times and
places by children and then picked up by adults). See his _The Monkey in
the Mirror_ (New York, 2002). He also speculates that words and syntax
represent separate inventions.