[percy-l] language theory

Karey L. Perkins karey at charter.net
Fri Feb 13 21:21:53 EST 2004

This is addressed specifically to Mike Frentz, and generally addressed to
the vast and superior collective knowledge of the Percy listserv as a group:

Several months ago (years?) Mike, you said, that much research/knowledge had
been done/gained on language acquisition and language theory since Percy's
death.  What is this, specifically?  I know the list has discussed the FOXP2
gene.  Has more been discovered/explored?  What were you referring to when
you made this comment?

I am continuing my exploration of Percy's language theory/radical
anthropology.  He seems specifically concerned with the "third element" of
the triad, the human self, and what is happening there: Among other things,
Percy  refers to the work of Norman Geschwind:  his discovery of a "recently
evolved structure, 'the human inferior parietal lobule, which includes the
angular and supramarginal gyri, to a rough approximation areas 30 and 40 of
Brodmann'" (Message in the Bottle 326).  Percy elaborates on Geschwind's
findings that this structure is not present in the macque, and only
rudimentarily present in higher apes.  It seems Percy WAS interested in
finding a neuro-physiological/anatomical correlate (as he discusses in this
essay in Message in the Bottle).  But I would venture to guess that much
work has been done since Geschwind.

And here's a question to throw out to all:  if there is a
physical/biological brain location for language (surely dyadic), how is that
this dyadic structure creates triadic thought? Aren't we back to Descartes'
dilemma of how a mind/body interacts?


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