Story of genie

Topics: Linguistics, Critical period, Solitary confinement Pages: 2 (698 words) Published: February 25, 2014

Feral Children- The Story of Genie
"Throughout history, several cases of "feral children," deprived of human interaction in their early lives, have crept into scientific consciousness" (Christina Sterbenz- The Insider). The most famous case of all, happened in California — a girl nicknamed "Genie." "Beyond the horrors of growing up feral, worst of all, these kids may miss a critical period to learn language and never communicate like the rest of us. Eric Lenneberg, a linguist and neurologist, first popularized the critical period (CP) hypothesis in the late 1960s" (Christina Sterbenz). His research suggests that a specific window exists for learning language, either spoken or tactile. Outside of it, grasping the basics of communication becomes extremely difficult. While debates still rage over how children acquire language, linguists agree that it's easiest during childhood, according to Wayne O'Neil, a linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Children have usually honed in on their native language's phonology by the end of the first year of life. The window re-opens from four to seven, and learning continues," he said. "If a child is isolated, then you've affected so many other things. You don't know what the hell is going on" (Eric Lenneberg). The story of Genie is such a sad and tragic story that no one could even begin to fathom, to neglect your child is one thing, but to allow them to fend for themselves and to be raised by dogs is such a hard thing for me to comprehend. Genie lived 10 years of her life chained to this potty chair. After intensive therapy, she finally told researchers that she even slept there. But her parents never bothered to potty train her. When a social worker found her in 1970 at age 13, she still wore diapers. Because her parents completely neglected her, "Genie had a strange "bunny-walk" and constantly spit and clawed at herself. She didn't speak or make any noise either. Genie's parents most likely...
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