Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Widening Inborn Constraints for Language Ability: The Case for Autism

Version 1 : Received: 17 April 2021 / Approved: 19 April 2021 / Online: 19 April 2021 (12:12:20 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Mottron, L.; Ostrolenk, A.; Gagnon, D. In Prototypical Autism, the Genetic Ability to Learn Language Is Triggered by Structured Information, Not Only by Exposure to Oral Language. Genes 2021, 12, 1112. Mottron, L.; Ostrolenk, A.; Gagnon, D. In Prototypical Autism, the Genetic Ability to Learn Language Is Triggered by Structured Information, Not Only by Exposure to Oral Language. Genes 2021, 12, 1112.

Journal reference: Genes 2021, 12, 1112
DOI: 10.3390/genes12081112

Abstract

What does the way autistics bypass, learn, and eventually master language tell us about human linguistic ability? Here, we argue that non-social acquisition of language, in addition to representing a strong argument for nativist models of human language, may be encompassed within the human-specific orientation and mastery of complex embedded structures, of which language represents one realization. Non-social language learning could thus represent the extension of available linguistic, and non-linguistic material processed by human genetic constraints, allowing language acquisition. This deviation from typical developmental language acquisition may ultimately allow access to language, sometimes in its most elaborate forms, and also explains the possibility of the absence of its development when applied to primarily non-linguistic structured material. However, such enlargement of material-specificity does not cast doubts about its human nature. Regardless of the adaptive success or failure of non-social language learning, it is up to science, legal policies, and ethical principles to strive to maintain autism as a human potentiality to further foster our vision of a plural society.

Keywords

language; autism; development; perception; veridical mapping; autistic interests; deep phenotypes; clusters/subtypes; neurodevelopment

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