Francis Gavin wrote:
> In the few known cases of
> children who have spent their formative years in the wild, they seemed to
> have little capacity for learning language by the time they were found.
> Apparently the base patterns for language narrow as the organism grows.
I've read a number of such accounts, and they all confirm this. It seems
the chief barrier is that after a certain age children no longer babble,
and babbling seems to be an essential step on the way to learning
language. The origin of language is of course a _very_ speculative area.
> [clip] True that other primates, even squirrels and raccoons all have the
> prehensile grasp -- but I don't see them rigging elections and fighting
> religious wars. Yet. Should their speech capacity change, however, watch
Your "watch out" echoes part of Tattersall's speculation. The
Neanderthals coexisted with homo-sapiens for many 10s of thousands of
years -- then after about 40,000 BP the species disappeared within a
very short time. Tattersall's speculation is that the "first fruits" of
the acquisition of language was the wiping out of the Neanderthals.