Lenneberg’s Contributions to the Biology of Language and Child Aphasiology: Resonation and Brain Rhythmicity as Key Mechanisms
Keywords:(child) aphasiology, brain rhythmicity, critical period hypothesis, latent and realized structures, resonance theory
AbstractThis paper aims to re-evaluate the legacy of Eric Lenneberg’s monumental Biological Foundations of Language, with special reference to his biolinguistic framework and view on (child) aphasiology. The argument draws from the following concepts from Lenneberg’s work: (i) language (latent struc- ture vs. realized structure) as independent of externalization; (ii) resonance theory; (iii) brain rhythmicity; and (iv) aphasia as temporal dysfunction. Specifically, it will be demonstrated that Lenneberg’s original version of the critical period hypothesis and his child aphasiology lend themselves to elucidating a child aphasia of epileptic origin called Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS), thereby opening a possible hope for recovery from the disease. Moreover, it will be claimed that, to the extent that the language disorder in LKS can be couched in these terms, it can serve as strong “liv- ing” evidence in support of Lenneberg’s critical period hypothesis and his view on child aphasiology.
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