[ExI] Sarcasm and accent

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sun Jun 22 14:10:51 UTC 2008

At 10:54 PM 6/21/2008, Stathis wrote:


>It isn't surprising that very complex and nuanced human behaviour are
>critically dependent on small regions of the brain. It's reasonable to
>try to find an evolutionary explanation but it may not be the case
>that the structure in question developed because those behaviours
>affected when it is damaged conferred an adaptive advantage. For
>example, what do you make of this:

"Researchers at Oxford University have found that patients with 
Foreign Accent Syndrome have suffered damage to tiny areas of the 
brain that affect speech.

"The result is often a drawing out or clipping of the vowels that 
mimic the accent of a particular country, such as Spain or France, 
even though the sufferer has limited exposure to that accent.

"The syndrome was first identified during World War II, when a 
Norwegian woman suffered shrapnel damage to her brain. She developed 
a strong German accent, which led to her being ostracised by her community. "

There is a case to be made that accent detection and maintenance are 
critical parts of the human kin recognition system.  If you assume 
there are genes controlling these abilities (which seems likely 
enough) then those genes would have been selected given the obvious 
affect on reproductive success being ostracised would cause.

Most interesting.  Thanks for finding this.


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