heard but not seen

From: Wade Smith (wade_smith@harvard.edu)
Date: Wed Nov 28 2001 - 16:21:59 GMT

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    Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 11:21:59 -0500
    Subject: heard but not seen
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    From: Wade Smith <wade_smith@harvard.edu>
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    > You really think people talk the way they do not because they
    > copied the
    > people around them, but due to wider environmental factors?
    > Perhaps vowel
    > sounds in the north of England are flatter than in the south to make up
    > for the more mountainous topography?

    The sounds that creatures make are absolutely varying because of
    their environments. So are a lot of other behaviors. The fact
    that society is one of and part of and inextricable from our
    environments simply makes various dialects precisely
    adaptations- yes, because that is what is _heard_ and the way it
    is heard during the development of speech/language in the
    non-deaf infant- part of the aural environment required and
    necessary for speech development.

    As for topography, as far as I know, no studies have been made
    of that, but I'd bet it matters, yup.

    It certainly matters in the type of musical and alarm
    instruments that the culture fashions- drums, bagpipes, horns,

    Whether it matters in actual speech practices as an analog of
    this, yeah, why not?

    - Wade

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