Universal grammar for all languages may be embedded in our brains, according to a report in ScienceNOW 26 June 2003.Children learn the grammar of whatever language they are exposed to, even though their parents do not formally teach them the rules. Neuroscientists at the University of Hamburg, Germany, studied brain activity in native German speakers who had been taught some Italian and Japanese words and given six rules of grammar for each language.
Unknown to the subjects, three of the rules were fake. The volunteers were asked to assess some simple sentences made up of the recently learned foreign words as to whether they followed the grammar rules they had been given. The region of the brain that controls speech, known as Broca’s area, was activated when the subjects were presented with the proper rules but not with the fake rules. It seems Broca’s area only learns rules that fit some kind of built in grammar.
Editorial Comment: This finding fits the Biblical history of language very well. Genesis tells us human beings were originally created with language built into their brains. Prior to the Tower of Babel all people spoke the same language. Everyone had a built-in universal grammar system, inherited from Adam and Eve. It is testimony to the brilliance of God the Word that He created so many languages using the grammar system that he originally designed. To use computer jargon: at Babel all God needed to do was rearrange the language software to produce varied new language programs that couldn’t talk to each other. The report in ScienceNOW is also further evidence that the linguist Chomsky was right. He said this some two decades ago. (Ref. language, grammar, speech)