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Genie

A genie or djini (from the Arabic language Jinni) is a mythological creature from arabian folklore. A powerful spirit of the air, the most famous genie is the one that Aladdin, found trapped inside a magical oil lamp, that obeyed the commands of whoever released it.


Genie is the name given to a young girl discovered in a Los Angeles home on November 4, 1970, a lifelong victim of bizarre child abuse. Her father had decided that she was retarded at birth, and because of this subjected her to severe isolation as well as ritual ill-treatment. Upon her discovery, Genie (13 years and 7 months) was tied to a potty chair and wearing diapers. She possessed no language skills and could only babble like an infant, and it seemed that she had been beaten early on for attempting to make noise. She was thirteen years old, and for over a decade had been completely restrained, left alone in her room without any sort of human interaction whatsoever.

When released for the first time, Genie affected a strange "bunny walk" and constantly spat and clawed. She was almost entirely silent. Through sleep studies, scientists were able to detect abnormal brain waves, so it seemed that Genie was brain damaged. (They were unsure of whether this was the result of her years of isolation or if she had actually been born that way.)

Though initially showing great progress, Genie soon hit a wall in her language acquisition. She never really learned language structure and only got so far as phrases like "Applesauce buy store". Linguists and scientists wanted to learn whether language could be learned past puberty (see Lenneberg's Critical Theory Hypothesis[?]), but because Genie was brain-damaged, the studies were not nearly conclusive enough. In addition, much controversy arose as to the validity and usefulness of many of the experiments conducted on the girl, and funding was cut off.

Genie ended up in an adult foster home.

See also:

Victor of Aveyron

Feral children

External link

"NOVA Online Transcripts 'Secret of the Wild Child'" (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2112gchild)



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