Susanne Langer has a fine analysis of a “Wolf Child’ ‘discovered’ in France in the 1790s. The physician who took the young boy (around 18) into his home had a utilitarian conception of language and what motivated it. The by had come to love milk, and the physician tried to get him to say “milk” in order to get milk. Total failure. Then the boy became ill and died. During the final illness the boy kept murmuring “milk” to himself, apparently for the comfort of saying it and thinking about it.
Reminds me of Benjamin Noyes’ recent post on refusal of language as refusal of work (I believe the reference here is to Langer’s Philosophy in a New Key).