For many years, researchers tried to teach other kinds of animals some human language. Chimps, dolphins, gorillas — it didn’t seem to matter which animals they tried. Few experiments were regarded as success stories.
Small children, however, learn whichever language they are taught, and abundant evidence points toward the universality of human language. Platoons of linguists have detailed strong syntactical similarities among the world’s tongues. And biologists have begun to identify some of the genes involved in the development of speech and possibly language.
“Human language is a generative system that determines an infinite set of possible semantic objects,” says Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics Emeritus at MIT.
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Source Credits: Peter Dizikes in MIT News Office