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She was sick, my Aunt said, heartbroken. I never knew this second grandmother either; she, too, died before I was born. Sometimes she cut his thick white hair in the front yard, draping a towel over his shoulders as he sat in a lawn chair, a partial six-pack of Budweiser nesting in the grass not far from reach. That woman, my Aunt said, she wants his money. My grandfather showed no signs of having any. He wore a white undershirt and baggy Bermuda shorts at all times.

Their language is the source of Maltese grammar and a third of the lexicon, making Malti the only Semitic language in the European Union. As for the rest of the vocabulary, about half comes from Italian, with English and French loanwords. Linguistics gave Rojas-Berscia tools that civilians lack. But he was drawn to linguistics in part because of his aptitude for systematizing. I suggested we try the university.

You want the street talk, not book Maltese. The rules of behavior are at least as important in cultural linguistics as the rules of grammar. The goal is to become part of a society.

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Like nearly all Maltese, they spoke good English, though Rojas-Berscia valued their mistakes. On our third day, Rojas-Berscia contacted a Maltese Facebook friend, who invited us to dinner in Birgu, a medieval city fortified by the Knights of Malta in the sixteenth century. The sheltered port is now a marina for super-yachts, although a wizened ferryman shuttles humbler travellers from the Birgu quays to those of Senglea, directly across from them. We ordered some Maltese wine and took in the scene.

But the minute Rojas-Berscia opened his notebook his attention lasered in on his task. In , Fisher, then at Oxford, was part of a team that discovered the FOXP2 gene and identified a single, heritable mutation of it that is responsible for verbal dyspraxia, a severe language disorder.

The question inspires bitter controversy. One such quirk has already been discovered, by the neuroscientist Sophie Scott: an extra loop of gray matter, present from birth, in the auditory cortex of some phoneticians. The genetics of talent may thwart average linguaphiles who aspire to become Mezzofantis. Transgenerational studies are the next stage of research, and they will seek to establish the degree to which a genius for language runs in the family.

In the meantime, Fisher is recruiting outliers like Rojas-Berscia and collecting their saliva; when the sample is broad enough, he hopes, it will generate some conclusions. I asked Fisher about another cutoff point: the critical period for acquiring a language without an accent.

The common wisdom is that one loses the chance to become a spy after puberty. Fisher explained why that is true for most people. But Simcott learned three of the languages in which he is mistaken for a native when he was in his twenties. Corentin Bourdeau, who grew up in the South of France, passes for a local as seamlessly in Lima as he does in Tehran. Experiments in extending or restoring plasticity, in the hope of treating sensory disabilities, may also lead to opportunities for greater acuity. Takao Hensch, at Harvard, has discovered that Valproate, a drug used to treat epilepsy, migraines, and bipolar disorder, can reopen the critical period for visual development in mice.

Rojas-Berscia and I parted on the train from Brussels to Nijmegen, where he got off and I continued to the Amsterdam airport. He had to finish his thesis on the Flux Approach before leaving for a research job in Australia, where he planned to study aboriginal languages. I asked him to assess our little experiment.

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He could read bits of a newspaper; he could make small talk; he had learned probably a thousand words. It was a rare lapse. A week later, I was on a different train, from New York to Boston.

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Fisher had referred me to his collaborator Evelina Fedorenko. Fedorenko is a cognitive neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital who also runs what her postdocs call the EvLab, at M. My first e-mail to her had bounced back—she was on maternity leave. But then she wrote to say that she would be delighted to meet me.

If not, she said, I could take a spin in her fMRI machine, to see what she does with her hyperpolyglots. Fedorenko is small and fair, with delicate features. She was born in Volgograd in Her father was an alcoholic, but her parents were determined to help her fulfill her exceptional promise in math and science, which meant escaping abroad.

At fifteen, she won a place in an exchange program, sponsored by Senator Bill Bradley, and spent a year in Alabama. Harvard gave her a full scholarship in , and she went on to graduate school at M. There, she met the cognitive scientist Ted Gibson. They married, and they now have a one-year-old daughter. One afternoon, I visited Fedorenko at her home, in Belmont.

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She spends as much time as she can with her baby, who was babbling like a songbird. We begin by asking how language fits into the broader architecture of the mind. She wondered: Does language share a mechanism with other cognitive functions? Or is it autonomous? The responsive cortex proved to be separate from regions involved in other forms of complex thought.

But pitch, Fedorenko explained, has its own neural turf. And life experience alters the picture. In order to draw general conclusions, Fedorenko needed to study the way that language skills vary among individuals. They turned out to vary greatly. The intensity of activity in response to the localizer tests was idiosyncratic; some brains worked harder than others.

But that raised another question: Did heightened activity correspond to a greater aptitude for language? Or was the opposite true—that the cortex of a language prodigy would show less activity, because it was more efficient? I asked Fedorenko if she had reason to believe that gay, left-handed males on the spectrum had some cerebral advantage in learning languages. But, in , she tested her first prodigy.

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Risk Our Flag Comics Penalty! This period, which witnessed an explosion of English-Canadian comic book publishing, is now described as the Canadian Golden Age of Comics. Anglo-American Pub Com Ltd. He operated a packaging studio more or less continuously from the mids through , and at times also operated as a publisher. In Chesler published with Dynamic Publications, Inc. From this point on, most of Chesler's comics would be branded with a logo proclaiming them the "World's Greatest Comics".

In , this also identified each issue as "A Dynamic Publication". After just over half a year, Dynamic ceased publishing, he continued producing a few books through surrogates. The surrogate activity picks up dramatically in , leading into Chesler's third major wave of publishing. Junior, however, was the son of Chesler the publisher, a point of much confusion for latter-day comics researchers.

This period lasted through , after which the ongoing titles were continued in Canada by Superior Publishers through early Chesler continued to run his art shop, but no longer published his own comics after Their major competitor in books of comic strip reprints was Frederick A. Stokes, who died in To reprint comic strips, the company offered, for 25 cents, a square-bound paperback format of 52 pages of black-and-white strips between flexible cardboard covers. Dell Publishing Co. Dell was founded in and first published comics with 's "The Funnies", which looked like a newspaper insert but was distributed on newsstands.

Eastern Color Printing Company was involved with several of Dell's earliest comic book ventures, although the exact nature of each partnership is not always clear. The company's comic book division folded in , although Dell continued to publish the occasional book with comics content, including newspaper strip collections. Dell became part of Bantam Doubleday Dell in , ceasing to exist as an independent company. We do reserve the right to limit uploads to this section when needed. Associated publishers Nita Publishing Co. Orbit Pub. Co Ray R. Hermann publications. Argyle Magazines, Inc.

Gillmor Magazines, Inc. Key Publications Key Publications, Inc. Media Publications, Inc.