New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

LING 1010 Lecture 18 Notes

by: Sarah Skinger

LING 1010 Lecture 18 Notes LING 1010

Sarah Skinger
GPA 3.915

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

These notes cover what was discussed during the first two days of Lecture 18: The Argument from Genetics: Language Genes?
Introduction to Languages and Linguistics
Hendrikus Van Der Hulst
Class Notes
LING 1010, Linguistics, lecture 18
25 ?




Popular in Introduction to Languages and Linguistics

Popular in Linguistics and Speech Pathology

This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sarah Skinger on Wednesday April 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LING 1010 at University of Connecticut taught by Hendrikus Van Der Hulst in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 40 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Languages and Linguistics in Linguistics and Speech Pathology at University of Connecticut.

Similar to LING 1010 at UCONN

Popular in Linguistics and Speech Pathology


Reviews for LING 1010 Lecture 18 Notes


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 04/06/16
Lecture 18: Argument from Genetics: Language Genes? Initial Comments  Only humans have a universal grammar and can use human language. However, other  species have ways of communicating that we don’t understand, just like they can’t  understand us when we speak.  o There is a species­specific innate system  There must be something in our genes that determines that we will have innate grammar  If something is innate, there must be a genetic ability for it  Some communication systems are completely innate, such as bees, who can do their  particular dance without ever having seen it or been exposed to other bees.   Language Evolution ­ How did language as we know it come about over time, how did it  evolve with our ancestors.  o Artifacts found by archaeologists reflect the mental capacities of the people who  created them. They show that the people has a “symbolic capacity”, which  means that they could manipulate signs to create an even greater, more complex meaning. Genes  Chromosomes contain 2 strands of DNA twisted together and then wound up tightly. The DNA molecules contain genes, which tell your body what to make, how much of it to  make, and when not to make it, etc.   Genes created all of your physical features, including your hair color, intestines, and  brain matter, as well as many many many other things.  “Junk DNA”  Only small portions on the strands of DNA are used by the body to encode for things like proteins, which make up every single thing inside your body.  The pieces that are not used (not encoded to make proteins) are called “Junk DNA”  However, there sections of “Junk DNA” interact with the environment, and are able to  turn on or of certain genes.  o The environment could include the foods you eat, chemicals you come in contact with, the temperature outside, etc. o This can be thought of as a system of switches, and is collectively called the  Epigenome  Epigenome ­ Turns your genes on or off, tells your genes what to do, including what  proteins to make, what proteins not to make, etc. It is the way your nurture impacts your  nature.  The nurture we receive, including our environment, experiences, diet, etc, influences  how our nature works. o In other words, our epigenome (influenced by our nurture, to an extent) effects  our genes (what is there by default). Genetic Determinism  The belief that genes are the only thing that impacts/ influences/ determines who we are.  Everything about you comes from your genes Environmental Determinism  The belief that everything about you is determined only by the environment you are  exposed to  If this were true, the concept of “species” would be confusing, because it means that if  you were to treat a mouse like a human, that it would begin to act like a human. Of  course we know this is not the case. What We Know  Much of our body is determined by our genetics.  However, we are able to influence that based on our environment. Ex: Laying in the sun, exercising regularly, living with hunger, etc. In this way, our genotype is influenced by  our environment to produce our phenotype o Genotype­ What our genes say. Everything that we have the capacity to do,  such as building muscles or learning any language. o Phenotype­ What we end up expressing. For example, having either very large  or very small muscles depending on how often we go to the gym. Or, learning  how to speak Hungarian instead of English or Japanese, or Dutch o In this way, our genotype (our capacity to express traits, or all the traits we could  express) is influenced by our environment (like going to the gym or growing up in  Hungary) to produce our phenotype (speaking Hungarian and having large  muscles).  o This can also be thought of as the genes determining all the possible principles,  and experience strengthening the neural connections for one parameter  (explained in next section).  The mind is a product of how the brain works, and the bring is formed based on genetic  information. But we know the mind is not a blank slate, so we can’t say it’s all genes  (nature) or all environment (nurture). It is a combination. Connectome  Your brain is made up of an enormous network of nerve cells, called neurons, which are  all interconnected in a web. Those neurons talk to each other, and everything that you  know is represented (and reliant on) the connections they have with each other.  That network/ web of neural connections is called the connectome.  We are born with lots and lot of connections­ more than we need. And as we learn things as we age, many of those connections disappear.  This is because as we learn one thing (for example, that our language goes SOV instead of SVO), we strengthen the connection between those neurons. But at the same time,  our brain realizes that since we need to know this one thing (our language is spoken  SOV), it realizes that we must not need the other thing (innately being able to speak in a  SVO order), so it gets rid of those connections. o Another example of this is that if your language does not use the voiced and  voiceless vocal distinctions, then the connections for that will go away. You will  then not be able to hear the difference between voiced and voiceless  consonants, because you no longer have the neural connections for it, as you did when you were a baby. o In this way, experience reduces our number of neural connections.  Also, new connections are formed simply from learning new things. When studying for  an exam, we are automatically making new neural connections in our connectome. Language and Personality are Genetic  The human capacity for language relies on specific genes. We know this because our  genes create regions in the brain that house the mental grammar. And without those  regions, we would not be able to create, use, or maybe even have the mental grammar.  There are many different brain regions that are important for mental grammar  We know that genes are very important and influential because of what we have learned from separated identical twins and adoption studies.  o Identical Twin Studies­ Identical twins who were separated at birth and adopted  by different families have the exact same genetic makeup, but have lived in very  different environments. However, they tend to have similar personalities.  Conclusion: personality is dependent on genetics o Adoption Studies­ Two children of similar ages are raised together by one family,  although one or both of those children has been adopted. The children are very  different genetically, but have had a very similar environment, and tend to have  very different personalities. Conclusion: personality is not dependent on  environment. Specific Language Impairment  If a language disorder is NOT due to a physical defect, psychological problems, or the  person is not mentally challenged, then the language disorder is a SLI and the  impairment is genetic.  An example of this is seen in the KE family. They have a genetic mutation on the FOXP2 gene, which has been passed down for three generations. The mutated gene causes the affected individuals to have difficulty articulating words, as well as difficulty with  grammatical rules. They have difficulty developing and using language.


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"

Kyle Maynard Purdue

"When you're taking detailed notes and trying to help everyone else out in the class, it really helps you learn and understand the I made $280 on my first study guide!"

Jim McGreen Ohio University

"Knowing I can count on the Elite Notetaker in my class allows me to focus on what the professor is saying instead of just scribbling notes the whole time and falling behind."


"Their 'Elite Notetakers' are making over $1,200/month in sales by creating high quality content that helps their classmates in a time of need."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.