2 Feralchildren


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  • 2 Feralchildren

    1. 1. Feral children Universität des Saarlandes Fachrichtung 4.3 – Anglistik, Amerikanistik und anglophone Kulturen Seminar: First Language Acquisition Seminarleitung: Prof. Dr. Neal R. Norrick Referentin: Lydia Schulz WS 2006 / 2007 11.12.2006
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>The Critical Period Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Some Cases of Feral Children </li></ul><ul><li>Timetable of Cases </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Bibliography </li></ul>
    3. 3. Definitions <ul><li>Feral (Latin: fera = wild animal) = “wild“, undomesticated </li></ul><ul><li>Feral children : human children who, from a very young age, have lived in isolation from human contact and have remained unaware of human social behavior and unexposed to human language ( www.feralchildren.com ) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Definitions <ul><li>Homo ferus : - Latin: “wild man“ -> feral man - Linnaeus (Carl von Linné, 1707-1778): listed “homo ferus“ as a subdivision of the genus “homo sapiens“ - defining characteristics: tetrapus -> crawling on all fours mutus -> mute hursutus -> hairy </li></ul>
    5. 5. Questions <ul><li>Is there really a critical period in a child’s development during which, if language acquisition is not stimulated or encouraged, it may be impaired later on or not emerge at all? </li></ul><ul><li>What can be learned at what age? </li></ul>
    6. 6. The Critical Period Hypothesis (Lenneberg, 1967) <ul><li>Before age 2, language acquisition is not possible because the brain is not sufficiently mature </li></ul><ul><li>After puberty, natural language acquisition is not obtainable because the brain is physiologically mature, but the lateralization of all higher mental functions is complete and cerebral plasticity is lost </li></ul><ul><li>In order to acquire language, there are two necessary requirements: 1. a human brain 2. sufficient exposure to language during this critical period between the age of 2 years and puberty </li></ul>
    7. 7. Some cases of feral children
    8. 8. Some cases of feral children <ul><li>Feral children can be subdivided into 3 classes: </li></ul><ul><li>Isolated children </li></ul><ul><li>Confined children </li></ul><ul><li>Children raised by animals </li></ul>
    9. 9. 1. Isolated children  who have survived on their own in the wild, without human or animal assistance
    10. 10. Wild Peter <ul><li>Was exposed to the wild by his father and his stepmother </li></ul><ul><li>Found 1724 , at the age of 13, in Hameln, Germany, as a naked, brownish and black-haired creature </li></ul><ul><li>He became the “possession“ of George I. of England </li></ul><ul><li>Was given to Princess Caroline of Wales, and investigated by Dr. Arbuthnot </li></ul><ul><li>Did not know how to answer questions </li></ul><ul><li>Was never able to speak properly, learned only a few words: “Peter“, “wild man“, “bow-wow“ (dog), “ki scho“ (King George), “qui ca“ (Queen Caroline) </li></ul><ul><li>Peter died in England in 1785 </li></ul>Isolated children
    11. 11. Viktor of Aveyron <ul><li>Found 1799 , was captured as a naked 11-year-old boy in the Caune Woods, France </li></ul><ul><li>Fell under the care of Dr. Itard in Paris; the French Physician suspected an abnormality of the larynx </li></ul><ul><li>Was able to comprehend language, but was practically unable to produce it </li></ul><ul><li>the only 2 pronounced words: “lait“ (milk), “oh dieu“ (my god) </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of his communication consisted of grunts and howls </li></ul><ul><li>Died in Paris in 1828 </li></ul>Isolated children
    12. 12. 2. Confined children <ul><li>other humans are undoubtedly the cause of their neglect and abuse; they are deprived of social contact and have often been kept in confinement in cellars </li></ul>
    13. 13. Kaspar Hauser <ul><li>Had spent his childhood in a darkened cell </li></ul><ul><li>Found 1828 , at the age of 17, as a young man in peasant dress in Nuremberg, Germany; </li></ul><ul><li>Capable of speech, but limited spoken vocabulary: “Ae sechtene mocht ich waehn, wie mei Votta waehn is“ (I want to be a horseman like my father is“, “bua“ (people), “ross“ (horse) [at the age of 17] </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistic abilities: - no use of conjunctions, participles, adverbs - deficient in respect to his syntax - use of names instead of pronouns - over-generalization </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: “Kaspar very well“ [17 y.] “Kaspar shall Julius tell“ “I all men love“ “The man with the mountain“ (a fat man) </li></ul><ul><li>1829: considerable progress in reading and writing -> decided to write his memoirs </li></ul><ul><li>1833: was assassinated by a stranger </li></ul>Confined children
    14. 14. Isabelle <ul><li>The illegitimate child had been kept in isolation by her grandfather and was fed by her deaf-mute mother (and communicated with her through gestures) </li></ul><ul><li>Found 1938 at the age of six in Ohio </li></ul><ul><li>Astonishing progress : Day O -> first vocalization after 2 mths. -> putting sentences together 11 mths. -> able to identify written words, to add to ten and to retell a story 18 mths. -> able to ask complicated questions; vocabulary of about 1,500 – 2,000 words </li></ul><ul><li> Reached a normal mentality by the age of eight and a half years </li></ul><ul><li> Covered in 2 years the usual stages of learning characteristics that ordinarily require six! </li></ul>Confined children
    15. 15. Genie <ul><li>From the age of 20 months, she lived in nearly total isolation and was attached to a potty by a special harness for most of the day </li></ul><ul><li>Her father did not speak to her but communicated through barking </li></ul><ul><li>Found in November 1970 , at the age of 13, in California, she could not stand erect and was unable to speak except 2 words: “Stopit“, “Nomore“ </li></ul><ul><li>1970: one-word utterances, e.g. “No.No.Cat.“ [13 y.] </li></ul><ul><li>1971: her language resembled that of a normal 18-20 months old child (one year after her discovery)  distinction between plural and singular nouns  two-word utterances, e.g. “Want milk.“, “Big teeth.“ [14y.] </li></ul><ul><li>But : NO vocabulary explosion after 18-20 months </li></ul><ul><li>Incapable to produce questions, e.g. “Where is may I have a penny?“ [17;2] “I where is graham cracker on the top shelf?“ </li></ul><ul><li>Present condition: speech development is not perfect, but she can utter the most things she wants to; lives in an adult foster home in California </li></ul>Confined children
    16. 16. Genie (04.05.1975) <ul><li>Genie (18;1): Genie have yellow material at school. </li></ul><ul><li>Marilyn (adult): What are you using it for? </li></ul><ul><li>G: Paint. Paint picture. Take home. Ask teacher yellow material. Blue paint. Yellow green paint. I want use material at school. </li></ul><ul><li>M: You wanta paint it, or are you trying to tell me you did paint it? </li></ul><ul><li>G: Did paint. </li></ul>[Curtiss, 1977]
    17. 17. 3. Children raised by animals  are raised by animals like wolves, dogs, monkeys, etc.
    18. 18. Kamala and Amala <ul><li>The “wolf children“ Kamala (8y.) and Amala (2y.) had been living with a family of wolves in a cave in a jungle in India </li></ul><ul><li>In 1920 , they were discovered in Midnapore, by Reverend Singh who took charge of them </li></ul><ul><li>Preferred to sit in the darkest corner of their room </li></ul><ul><li>Fingers and toes were deformed, they were not able to stand upright </li></ul><ul><li>snarled at other kids and cried like wolves </li></ul><ul><li>Amala died in September 1921 </li></ul><ul><li>Within 5 years of orphanage, Kamala acquired a Bengali - vocabulary of more than 40 words: “ha“ (yes), “hoo“ (cold); she was also able to name objects </li></ul><ul><li>1929: Kamala died </li></ul>Children raised by animals
    19. 19. Oxana Malaya <ul><li>At the age of 3, her alcoholic parents left her neglected daughter outside one night and she crawled into a hovel where the family kept dogs </li></ul><ul><li>Between the ages of 3 and 8, she lived with the dogs in a kennel of the back garden of her family home </li></ul><ul><li>In 1991 , the “dog child“ was found in Ukraine, barking and crawling on all fours </li></ul><ul><li>At an orphanage school, she was taught to walk upright, to eat with her hands and to acquire language; </li></ul><ul><li>2006: at the age of 23, she is able to speak, but there is no cadence or rhythm or inflection to her speech; she can count but not add up </li></ul><ul><li>Today, she works as a cowgirl </li></ul>Children raised by animals
    20. 20. Timetable of cases dog child 8 1991 Novaya Blagoveshchenka, Ukraine female Oxana Malaya confined child 13 1970 California, USA female Genie confined child 6 1938 Ohio, USA female Isabelle wolf children 8 and 2 1920 Midnapore, India female Kamala & Amala confined child 17 1828 Nuremberg, Germany male Kaspar Hauser isolated child 11 1799 Aveyron, France male Viktor isolated child 13 1724 Hameln, Germany male Wild Peter Classification Age Date Location Sex Name
    21. 21. Problems <ul><li>There aren´t many linguistic records of the most cases (exception: Genie) </li></ul><ul><li>After their return to civilization, the experiences of feral children in acquiring language are totally different (different social background, different periods of isolation) </li></ul>
    22. 22. Conclusion <ul><li>Some feral children acquire normal language ability, but only if found before the onset of puberty (e.g. Isabelle) </li></ul><ul><li>Other feral children never master the rules of grammar and syntax </li></ul><ul><li>Unless children are exposed to language in the critical period, they lose much of their innate ability to learn a language and especially its grammatical principles </li></ul><ul><li>The Critical Period Hypothesis is not proven, but it is strongly supported! </li></ul>
    23. 23. Thank you for your attention!
    24. 24. Bibliography <ul><li>Brown, Roger. 1959. Words and things . Glencoe: The Free Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Candland, Douglas. 1993. Feral children and clever animals . Oxford: Oxford University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Curtiss, Susan. 1977. Genie – A psycholinguistic study of a modern-day „wild child“ . New York: Academic Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Davis, Kingsley. 1966. Human society . New York: Macmillan. </li></ul><ul><li>Mindshock – Feral children. http://www.mojoflix.com/Video/Oxana-Malaya-The-Feral-Child.html. (27.11.2006) [no author, no publishing year] </li></ul>
    25. 25. Bibliography <ul><li>Pines, Maya. 1997. The civilizing of Genie. Teaching through the disciplines: Psychology , ed. by Loretta F. Kasper. New York: Whittier. </li></ul><ul><li>Skuse, D.H. 1988. Extreme deprivation in early childhood. Language development in exceptional circumstances , ed. by Dorothy Bishop and Kay Mogford, 29-46. New York: Livingstone. </li></ul><ul><li>Ward, Andrew. 2006. Feral children. http://www.feralchildren.com/de/index.php . (27.11.2006) </li></ul>