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Ken Armstrong wrote:
> 
>   Language and writing aren't the same thing. And surely there are people
> who write well, speak well, do math well, and speak more than one language
> fluently. Perhaps they are the model we should be working to.

That language and math are independent modes of thinking does not, of
course, mean that there are not many people proficient in both. It
_does_ mean that there _can_ be (and therefore probably are) many who
are skilled in one or the other but NOT both. Tennis and baking are
quite independent skills; there are tennis players who can't bake; there
are bakers who are miserable tennis players; there doubtless many who
are both exellent bakers and powerful tennis players. Hence _examples_
tell us nothing about the meaning of the neurological discovery of the
independence of the brain regions dealing with language and with
mathematics.

Now I have read nothing, yet, that tries to interpret what the
neurological discovery _means_ in terms of epistemology, psychology,
various human competencies, etc., and I myself do not possess the kind
of knowledges which would be necessary to pursue those subjects. But the
fact is certain. The brain differentiation does exist, and it is
exemplified in the life histories of many. The significance of that fact
remains to be explored in the future. Hip shot attempts to interpret it
at this time are silly.

There is a review in the current NYRB which I haven't read yet that
looks interesting. The book reviewed is _The Singing Neanderthals: The
Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body." I know there has been a long
debate among anthropologists as to the origin of symbolic thought.

Carrol

P.S. I think Tabitha is certainly right on one point: "Computer
programming bears much more relation to
language than it does to maths." The core of programming is the
intuiting of useful algorithms.