LB Preface 4+5 勝芬
Biological Foundations of Language
By Eric H. Lenneberg
Preface (Paragraph 4+5) viii
This book attempts to reinstate the concept of the biological basis of language capacities and to make the specific assumptions so explicit that they may be subjected to empirical test. In many instances I have not been able to do more than to formulate questions and to show that they are not spurious. There is no research as yet that provides answers to them. But I hope that I have been able to show what type of investigations might lead to new insights and thus, perhaps, give new directions to old inquiries. A particularly promising approach seems to be the systematic evaluation of patients with various deficits, especially the deaf and the mentally retarded. Modern advances in technology and methodology in behavior research are likely to lead to new knowledge about language function, and thus the patients whose misfortune serves as source material for new studies may, hopefully, eventually profit from the new advances in our understanding of language.
This book must be understood as a discussion rather than a presentation of the biological foundations of language. The exact foundations are still largely unknown. On the other hand, I have considered this common claims relating to the biological nature of language. In those instances where I found myself to be in disagreement with widely held opinions, the argument may have taken on a predominantly iconoclastic character, as, for instance, in Chapter six; in other cases the topic seemed to me important enough to warrant a detailed discussion although the data do not lead to new ideas on the nature or origin of language, as, for example, the discussion of peripheral anatomy in Chapter two. However, both the negative and the positive contributions uniformly led me to quite a specific point of view, which I have attempted to summarize in Chapter nine, and which may, some day in the future, become the foundation to a new theory on language.