Re: Memes, Biology, Language.

Wesley Schwein (
Wed, 8 Oct 1997 15:54:47 -0400 (EDT)

Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 15:54:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: Wesley Schwein <>
To: memetics list <>
Subject: Re: Memes, Biology, Language.
In-Reply-To: <>

On Mon, 6 Oct 1997, Mark Mills wrote:

> >> In memetic terms, Genie could not replicate linguistic memes...
> >Genie could still acquire and use new words; she'd just never
> >developed a normal ability for syntax, so her sentences tended to be
> >things like "Cat sofa sit there" and "Water drink me some want".
> >As for memes of non-linguistic vectors, Genie learned to dress herself,
> >play games, and so forth.
> As I interpret your comments, Genie is clearly able to replicate (and
> promote) some memes. She could dress herself, play games, etc. On
> another level, she was unable to replicate more matured and complex
> linguistic memes.

Yes, exactly. She lacked the mental software (circuitry, pathways,
whatever) for producing adult syntax, in a lesser degree than the failure
of apes to acquire syntax. Ape language studies have demonstrated that we
are not the only species with the ability to use discrete symbols for
communication, but we're still the only known syntactic beings.

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