Comment Archives: Stories: Last 30 Days

Re: “Language: Innate or Invented?

One in every three secondary school leavers failed in English, year after year, decade after decade. This seriously affected their career prospect in an age of global economy. I gave up a HK$2.5m directorate job in the Government, took early retirement and set up Le Beaumont Language Centre (2004-14) as a teaching and research base. We were the first ones to merge language study with neuroscience. I was particularly impressed by Charles Nelson's findings on the neurogenesis of the neurons in the Broca's area which peaked out at the end of the 9th month after birth. We admitted infants one month after birth into our multilingual playgroup. They embarked on a 5-nation tour, an hour a day, Monday to Friday, conducted by graduate teachers from England, France, Spain, Germany, Japan and or China. The babies all grew up into linguistic geniuses by the age of 3. They were super intelligent. We also observed how 12,000 kids of different ages acquired different number of languages for different durations with different outcomes, burning HK$112m in 10 years.

The Beaumont Study (2004-14) is probably the most important study after the classic Abecedarian Study (1972-77) in the past century. For 10 years, we observed at close distance how a large number of infants acquired languages.

The following are our key findings.
1. The brain is made up of billions of neurons and trillions of synapses. A memory is formed when 2 neurons connect in a synapse. The brain is a huge memory base.
2. Language is made up of 2 components, a sound database developed from interaction with people during the first 9 months after birth, and a matching software inherited from the genes. The sound database and the matching software form the voice recognition system.
3. The voice recognition system is at the 'developmental' mode during the first 9 months. It can recognize the sounds of whatever language the infant interacts with and input them into his voice database. The baby is only interested in sounds, not in meaning. Grammar does not come into the picture.
4. The voice recognition system is at the 'application' mode from the 10th month onwards when the baby begins to imitate sounds. He 'recognizes' the sound he hears by matching the incoming soundbites with those in the voice database.
5. You 'hear' what the matching software can find in the voice database. If the incoming sound cannot be found in the voice database, its looks for the nearest sound in the voice database. This is what you 'hear' and what you imitate. This minor distortion of sounds gives rise to ascents.
6. All languages are built on sounds made from mouth. Sounds made with mouth opened are called vowels. The mouth can only make limited number of shapes, flat or round, wide opened, half-opened, or relaxed. It gives rise to the 5 cardinal vowels, which were first recorded in Latin, now shared by languages from English to Japanese. You can find the 5 cardinal vowels in practically all languages in the world.
7. A language is the outcome of a natural developmental process, based on the manipulation of our data from our memory, or learning process. Language starts from the memory of sounds to form phonemes in the first year, the association of sounds with objects and actions to form vocabulary in the 2nd year, and the application of the memory of patterns of usage to form grammar in the 3rd year. We have observed our polyglots compressing the time scale in the 3 processes involved. But the sequence is the same.
8. Even IQ is the application of the database of dynamic memories acquired during interaction with people, in games, in life experience and in problem solving.

Conclusion
The Beaumont Study discovered the following,
1. A biological basis for language development, i.e. the language neurons, which are designed to record voice. The timeline of the developmental path was first identified by Charles Nelson. Joan Stiles pointed out that language neurons used during the first 9 months were fed and kept and those not used were deprived of nutrition and perished with time.
2. The brain is but a huge storage space of gargantuan proportion. The contents are input from the child's interaction with the outside world.
5. Like the computer, there are 2 types of memories,
a) Memories in the Central Processing Unit forming the Operating System. The developmental process of this type of memory is time sensitive. It is related to the exponential growth of functional neurons in the early years, viz. the first 3 months for vision; the first 9 months for language; and the first 3 years for cognition.
b) Memories in the hard disc, which is not time sensitive.
6. Language acquisition is a deceptively simple process in memory. The only thing we inherited from our genes is a simple matching mechanism for the operating systems, for vision, language or cognition. It is void of any contents. Chomsky's grammar genes is an adult's postulation of a much simpler process in the language development of a baby.

Sam TS Chow
Founder, Le Beaumont Language Centre (2004-14)
Love to hear from you! samtschow@gmail.com

Posted by email on 09/29/2016 at 6:17 PM
Posted by alipblog on 09/29/2016 at 5:27 PM

Re: “Language: Innate or Invented?

No, merge works recursively. Merge is just a computational operation whereby two syntactic units are combined together to form another syntactic object (for example, "the cat was killed" and "when it was hit by a car" produce, when operated upon by merge, the sentence "the cat was killed when it was hit by a car"). Merge is recursive because it is an operation that can be applied to its own output (in the last example, the inputs were "the cat was killed" and "when it was hit by a car", the computational operation was merge and the output was "the cat was killed when it was hit by a car"; via the application of the same merge operation, this output can then be combined with yet another syntactic unit, like "that was traveling at sixty kilometers an hour" for example, to form another linguistic unit: "the cat was killed when it was hit by a car that was traveling at sixty kilometers an hour"). So merge works just like any recursive function does in the theory of computation, which is why merge has the property of recursion. There's no "downgrade" from recursion to merge, you just didn't understand the theory.

Moreover, Everett's argument is fallacious in the most vulgar sort of way. Chomsky's claim is roughly the following: (1) if humans acquire recursive languages, then humans must have a genetic capacity that allows them to mentally process recursive languages. Anyone who knows their logic is aware of the fact that this conditional does not imply the following proposition: (2) if humans have a genetic capacity that allows them to mentally process recursive languages, then humans must acquire recursive languages. That is, in general, "if A then B" does not imply "if B then A". In finding an example of a human language that does not feature recursion, all Everett has done is to disprove proposition (2), but this proposition is not implied by Chomsky's actual claim, and so Everett's (very much disputed, if not refuted) discovery is irrelevant as far as the viability of Chomsky's program is concerned.

As for a younger generation of linguists abandoning ideas of innate grammar, well that might be partially true. At the same time, there are academics trying to argue that there are no such things as genetic programs, and that all talk of information being encoded in DNA is meaningless. In both cases, this doesn't represent the majority view, which is fortunate because in both cases it simply demonstrates a shocking lack of understanding of theory of computation. As far as I can tell, dissent from this basic view of Chomsky's amounts to an infantile and misdirected fear of genetic determinism (of course, many people, like Pinker for example, dissent from Chomsky in the finer details, and that's where the media coverage should be concentrated; at the moment, what the media is doing is analogous to claiming that the general theory of relativity has been disproved instead of focusing coverage on the more subtle disputes--the ones of actual importance to physicists--that exist between scientists who accept general relativity).

Posted by rationalistpaladin on 09/29/2016 at 4:07 PM

Re: “The Last Days of the Budget Motel

Beautiful written, thank you for showing all the sides with such depth and human insight.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Erin Powers-Taylor on 09/29/2016 at 12:14 PM

Re: “Cars, Cars, Cars

Hi, I am interested in organizing a Cars and Coffee of Humboldt. I am new to the area, and have long experience in organizing automotive events and shows. I have source of sponsorships as well. If you or you know anyone that I can express interest contact me. Thank you, George

Posted by George Walker on 09/29/2016 at 5:32 AM

Re: “UPDATE: Eureka Approves Containerville Move, $75k in Funding

Providing shelter for 79 people is a great benefit to those 79 & to the larger community. People with shelter are more likely to gain employment & to become able to take care of themselves and then can go on to give back to the community. -abe farag

Posted by Abe Farag on 09/29/2016 at 1:24 AM

Re: “UPDATE: Eureka Approves Containerville Move, $75k in Funding

I presented a 3-page analyses to the city council describing in minute detail why the Marina Way location presents health and safety hazards to the homeless, and why it goes against the original intent expressed in the General Plan, ordinance No. 5-201, the Industrial/Coastal Dependent zoning designation,and so on. Also noted are significant hazards presented by Dock B, flooding, lack of safe "back door" (exit) from the end of a pocket street, noise pollution from the next door logging operation, not to mention the loss of many parking spaces for visitors. Also, cars, pedestrians and wheelchairs wouldn't be allowed to go the whole stretch of Marina Way. Some think that Marina Way offers more privacy than other sites, but that is an illusion promoted by those who don't know the street very well. In addition to it being the coldest and dampest place in Winter around here, the Coastal Commission advised the Eureka City Council on Monday to scrap this location. Good!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ferd53 on 09/28/2016 at 2:56 PM

Re: “Volunteer Fire Captain Killed in Fortuna Shooting

Another protector lost. Rest easy brother.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by GK Chase on 09/28/2016 at 10:01 AM

Re: “UPDATE: Eureka Approves Containerville Move, $75k in Funding

Marina way would be good on the very short term, but not long term. Long term, the city of Eureka needs to Work on cleaning up and developing the waterfront. There's so much real estate right on the water that's home to derelict buildings, junk heaps, and empty lots of tattered unkempt grass. The whole stretch needs to be cleaned up and re-zoned. It would cost millions up front but that land could bring in many millions more, were it a pristine tourist destination. And to get back on subject, it would allow for the creation of hundreds of jobs.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by GK Chase on 09/28/2016 at 9:58 AM

Re: “New Law Says Gold Dredgers Need Clean Water Permits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlcf7TSxIr0&feature=youtu.be

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Heather Willis on 09/27/2016 at 4:47 PM

Re: “Local Veteran Rolls Through Humboldt to Raise Awareness for Suicide Prevention

If you are a veteran or know a veteran with mobility issues who would benefit from the Zoom, please check out our Facebook page, Zoomability, to learn more about how they may be eligible to receive one at no cost to themselves.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by LeeAnna Tatum on 09/27/2016 at 10:46 AM

Re: “HumBug: False Scorpions

I paid a kid a dollar for a 2" whip scorpion(venagrio).squirts vinager out sides.his antennas,3",swept back and forth.only thing I found to feed him was newborn rats.he sucked them dry.i collected rattlers.big horned toads,marked like desert toad,on back.they kill people of fright.i fed phrinasoma 20big biting ants daily,after feeding ants phytoplankton grown on plankton deposit 3days.ants won't bite in oxygen and chorella,it laid 36 infertile eggs,virgen birth,like komodo dragon in captivity.12more than usually.smell makes baby lynx turn bellyup and purr,and let me rub stomach.i really fear those cats.horny toads are federally protected dont cage them.my local poli fear of me.criminals protect me.im medical advisor,teach children about geobiogy.we live over lost inland sea,over 2 meter phytoplankton ,mined(tunneled)by 7pyramid building city states. Richard fisher taught me something in. Grandcanyonof Cambodia.for 3centuries,before monuments,tight grid residential neighborhoods with pond on each block.we all poop so much we poison ourselves with our runoff. Oink oink.corruption fears my type.

Posted by Fortunato Arriza on 09/27/2016 at 7:00 AM

Re: “UPDATE: Eureka Approves Containerville Move, $75k in Funding

I hope the Marina Way location isn't chosen. Regular visitors and tourists are being told to sacrifice a recreational public right of way to a minority. Furthermore, the street is covered under public safety ordinance No5-201 and is zoned Industrial/Coastal Dependent. It's not suitable for human habitation and isn't near any services at all. Bad choice all the way around.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ferd53 on 09/26/2016 at 10:09 PM

Re: “Service Call

Love you aunt Heidi, you rock!! I always love your spirit, loving attitude, and just great personality. Wish me and Kai were closer to you guys, it was so fun to visit.This article told me some things I didn't know about you or my dad's childhood. It was kind of fun to find out. This was an awesome article and you are amazing at everything you do, love you and I don't know anything about the Eureka City council but I'm sure you will succeed through this new journey. Love you :)

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jackie Renee Hawn on 09/26/2016 at 7:08 PM

Re: “You and Me and the Keys

"It's about all of us"

NO, it's not about all of us. It's about those of us who refuse to take responsibility for the risks they impose on themselves and on their loved ones and on complete strangers. Who, in this day and age, with all of the news and information, can continue to justify getting in their car and driving off after a "couple of glasses of chardonnay" or more? NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Who, in this day and age, with all of the news and information, can continue to justify or excuse allowing a friend, an acquaintance, or that stranger sitting next to you, to get into their car and drive off after a few? NOT ACCEPTABLE!

You have a responsibility to call the police and provide a license plate number and description of the vehicle and driver. You have the responsibility to ask the bar or restaurant or festival staff for help calling a taxi or sober friend. Oh, too hard? too complicated? too much effort? NOT ACCEPTABLE!

You have the responsibility to be prepared in advance if you are going to an event where drinks will be served and you plan to consume - some - any - oh, just one - well maybe two. Oh, just this once, I'll drive slowly. NOT ACCEPTABLE!

You all know, and we all know, that if you have been drinking alcohol or imbibing any kinds of mind altering substance, you should absolutely NOT DRIVE! No excuses, no exceptions. Seriously, who doesn't know that? Ironically, people who do drink and drive are often cogent enough to know that to run away is your best bet, at least, until the alcohol or other substance has worn off enough that you won't test the limit. NOT ACCEPTABLE!

If you know enough to run away to save your own sorry ass, you know enough to plan ahead for other transportation options.

Those of us who drink responsibly, who make plans in advance when partying hearty, are insulted by those who are irresponsible. People who drink and drive most likely do it fairly frequently. We all have a responsibility and an obligation to report this behavior and stop these people before the next innocent person gets killed or injured.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ruth Moon on 09/26/2016 at 1:01 PM

Re: “Service Call

As Heidi's older brother, I can vouch for her memories here, her dedication to loving God and loving others. She is an amazing woman, and I would vote for her in a heartbeat. Too bad she's not the woman running for president. lol.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Eric Wilson on 09/26/2016 at 8:34 AM

Re: “You and Me and the Keys

Stevie shroyer rip

Posted by Sierra Darling on 09/25/2016 at 11:03 PM

Re: “You and Me and the Keys

A relatively recent city council meeting in fortuna is a much-needed light on the LACK of taxis or taxi-like (i.e. Uber) in this county. The hoops one has to jump through are ridiculous to say the least.

Posted by samantha1 on 09/25/2016 at 1:36 PM

Re: “You and Me and the Keys

You know it's kind of funny. Not ha-ha funny, but odd funny. When I'm out with friends and order coffee or tea and they're all having a few brews they ask me if I don't drink. I respond that I do, but I don't drink and drive. That way if a cop pulls me over I can answer simply No! I haven't been drinking. It's taken a few years for them to accept that about me. Personally I think we as a society need to change the paradigm of having a few and driving. I think there should be more sleep overs, more designated drivers, as the norm. As a motorcyclist I suspect over half of the other drivers out there are impaired in some way. Whether alcohol, pot, meth, opioids, texting, or just plain stupid.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anthony Westkamper on 09/24/2016 at 8:01 PM

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