Monday, November 17, 2014

The Forbidden Experiment

Although many disabled children overseas face language barriers so extreme that they live in desolation, there has never been any structured evidence of what would happen if a person was never exposed to language - neither spoken nor signed. Robbing a child of communication has never been feasible; hence Roger Shattuck's titling the long lived curiosity as "the Forbidden Experiment."

That considered, human sensitivities have not always been so sensitive. One Egyptian pharaoh is said to have isolated two newborns and ordered designated guards to leave them in linguistic darkness. The two children reportedly manifested their own barbaric babble to mean "bread" and other demands for necessities. 

In more common and modern cases of children having been isolated from language, it is difficult to differentiate between the effects of language deprivation and the mistreatment synonymous with these circumstances. 

Testaments such as Nicaragua's first deaf school’s programs for teenaged students, who have lived without language, signify the "magnificent potential of the human brain." Still, we may never have a definitive answer of what it is like to live without exposure to some means of communication.

According to New Scientist journalist Bob Holmes, "People instinctively organize a new language according to a logical hierarchy, not simply by learning which words go together." 

Nicaraguan Deaf Student Learns To Sign 


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