“Secrets of a Wild Child”

Topics: Linguistics, Noam Chomsky, Foster care Pages: 3 (935 words) Published: October 20, 2012
“Secrets of a Wild Child”

Genie was a child who was kept virtually a prisoner. She was held by her parents in a suburb of Arcadia, Los Angeles, California. At thirteen years old, on November 4, 1970, she was discovered and was taken into custody by officials. Genie is not her real name; it has been changed to hide her identity. She was kept in such isolation by her parents she never even learned to talk, walk and eat correctly. She was still even wearing diapers when a social worker discovered her. She had been locked in a room alone for over ten years. She was tied to a potty chair all day and sometimes all night often forgotten. She was left to sit alone day after day. At night, if not tied to the potty chair, she was tied into a sleeping bag, which restrained her arms. She had an over-sized crib that had a cover made of metal screening. Her mother’s excuse for her condition and treatment was that her husband determined that Genie was retarded. Genie seemed more like an infant than a thirteen year old. Genie was taken to Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. There, authorities thought she still might have a normal learning capacity. Her parents have been charged with child abuse. Unfortunately, her father committed suicide shortly after Genie was found and her mother claimed to be a victim of the abusive father and was not found guilty. First, Genie was placed in at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles a team of scientists known as “the Genie Team” began working with Genie. Genie seemed to present them with the

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“natural experiment" for answering many questions; such as Noam Chomsky theory of, “Critical Period Hypothesis of language acquisition.” Chomsky’s theory states that there is a crucial time in which an individual can acquire a first language. It proposes that the outcome of language acquisition is not uniform or learned over the lifespan but rather is required during early childhood before puberty. Genie had not learned language or...
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