World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Language deprivation experiments

Article Id: WHEBN0009151847
Reproduction Date:

Title: Language deprivation experiments  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject:
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Language deprivation experiments

Language deprivation experiments have been attempted several times through history, isolating infants from the normal use of spoken or signed language in an attempt to discover the fundamental character of human nature or the origin of language.

The American literary scholar Roger Shattuck called this kind of research study "The Forbidden Experiment" because of the exceptional deprivation of ordinary human contact it requires.[1] Although not designed to study language, similar experiments on non-human primates (labelled the "Pit of despair") utilising complete social deprivation resulted in psychosis.

In history

Ancient records suggest that this kind of experiment was carried out from time to time. An early record of an experiment of this kind can be found in Herodotus's Histories. According to Herodotus, the Egyptian pharaoh Psamtik I carried out such an experiment, and concluded the Phrygian race must predate the Egyptians since the child had first spoken something similar to the Phrygian word bekos, meaning "bread.".[2] However, it is likely that this was a willful interpretation of their babbling.[3][4]

An alleged experiment carried out by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century saw young infants raised without human interaction in an attempt to determine if there was a natural language that they might demonstrate once their voices matured. It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language would have been imparted unto Adam and Eve by God.

The experiments were recorded by the monk Salimbene di Adam in his Chronicles, who wrote that Frederick encouraged "foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which he took to have been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments."[5]

Several centuries after Frederick II's experiment, James IV of Scotland was said to have sent two children to be raised by a mute woman isolated on the island of Inchkeith, to determine if language was learned or innate.[6] The children were reported to have spoken good Hebrew, but historians were sceptical of these claims soon after they were made.[7][8] This experiment was later repeated by the Mughal emperor Akbar, who held that speech arose from hearing, thus children raised without hearing human speech would become mute.[9]

In fiction

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ Herodotus, History II:2, found in "An Account of Egypt".
  3. ^ Danesi, Marcel and Paul Perron (1999). Analyzing Cultures: An Introduction and Handbook. Indiana: Indiana University Press, p. 138.
  4. ^ McCulloch, Gretchen (2014). Slate Magazine. "What Happens if a Child Is Never Exposed to Language?"
  5. ^ Medieval Sourcebook: Salimbene: On Frederick II, 13th Century
  6. ^
  7. ^ Dalyell, John Graham, ed., , vol. 1, Edinburgh (1814)The Chronicles of Scotland by Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie pp. 249-250.
  8. ^
  9. ^ M. Miles, , c1200-1750SIGN, GESTURE & DEAFNESS IN SOUTH ASIAN & SOUTH-WEST ASIAN HISTORIES: a bibliography with annotation and excerpts from India; also from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, Persia/Iran, & Sri Lanka
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.