Is There Language After Puberty?

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(6), 456–457. Reviews the book, Genie: A Psycholinguistic Study of a Modern-Day Wild Child by Susan Curtiss (1977). This book reports on the information available about the linguistic development to date, as judged by medical records, comprehension tests, neurolinguistic measures, and records of spontaneous speech, of Genie, who was at the age of 20 months, locked in a bare room. Harnessed naked to a potty-chair by day, strapped into a crib at night, she rarely saw anyone. Her contact with the vocal world became largely imitations of a dog–of her father and brother. Vocalizations or noises she made were punished by beatings. She was finally returned to the world at the age of 13. Whatever the outcome, the book is fascinating, both as a document of miraculous recovery and as an important contribution to the study of linguistic acquisition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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