I was fascinated with the interview with Jean Berko Gleason as an anthropologist and as a parent watching 3 children acquire language - - a most intriguing thing to observe. Our son seemed to grasp patterns, though sometimes incorrectly extended beyond actual usage, at a very early age. For example, possessive pronouns. He heard us say his, hers, yours, ours, theirs and so he would respond "mines" instead of "mine" for things that belonged to him. He also reasoned that if something were done "on purpose", then other things might happen "on accident" rather than "by accident". Regarding the hallmarks of Homo sapiens, I used to teach a course on human evolution, and used a model suggested in an essay entitled "The Evolution of Man's Capacity for Culture" and also supposedly unique characteristics suggested by the linguist Hockett. One by one, these "unique" factors came into question. And why shouldn't they since morphological characteristics of humans developing from primates and other mammals can be seen as transitional? My present feeling is that there few if any differences between humans and great apes IN KIND, but some of the differences IN DEGREE are so profound they might as well be in kind! Particularly important, I feel, are "displacement" (ability to project into the past and future) and "self awareness".
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