SPEECH IN LANGUAGES: FROM BY-PRODUCT TO SUPERPROBLEM
It is surmised that problems in scientific research arise not only through filling up of so-called blank spots in knowledge and notifying of practical needs, but also atypically: casually as an unforeseen, that is to say, a by-product of a differently targeted project. The author relates how the phenomenon of multilingualism appeared to him as a noncontrolled variable, first in an empirical research of the development of child speech and then in an experimental research into psychomotor skills. It was noted that as regards the occurrence (use) of parts of speech, the structure of speech communication in bilingual children of preschool age strikingly differs from that of monolinguals. Subsequently it was proved that persons with a multilingual development had significantly slower motor responses to verbal, in contrast to light stimuli (pressing motions with fingers) than the common sample of subjects - undergraduates. There thus arose by now a targeted psychological problem of promptness in subjects commanding several languages, but of course, with subsequent exploratory probes. All that led to a more precise specification of the types of the phenomena under study (bilingualism, biglottism, bi- or multiculturalism) which differ in part from traditional concepts. There then followed several experimental studies by the author and his team which brought new methods and new data on the way the dominant language functions in interference with others acquired in various ways. Of all this, the author here presents only a self-experiment with color naming in different languages. In lieu of a conclusion, several questions of a theoretical nature are formulated concerning, as yet mostly mysteries of the existence of languages in speech which, from the anthropological, neurophysiological, linguistic, psychological as also philosophical aspect, may be considered a superproblem of man's functioning in this world.
CEJSH db identifier