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Noam Chomsky - Nativist

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Tara Harding

on 23 November 2012

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Transcript of Noam Chomsky - Nativist

Noam Chomsky
Nativist Noam Chomsky suggests that language is an innate faculty- we are born with a set of rules about language in our head which he refers to as 'universal Grammar' Conclusion Children are exposed to very little correctly formed language, when people speak they constantly stop and start.
Children do not simply copy the language they hear around them, they deduce rules from it which they use to make sentences they have never heard before. They do not learn phrases or sentences but a grammar that generates an infinity of new sentences Over the years from 2-7, when language is mastered,
children constantly adjust their grammar until it matches
that of the adult speaker populations
The critical period between the ages of 2-7 suggest that
(first) language learning, like walking is an innate capacity
of human beings triggered by a level of development
more than feedback from the environment.

. Language Development: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate.
The Nativist theory deals with the biological belief that language is an innate feature of the infant and is rooted in the genes. Researcher Noam Chomsky is a firm advocate for this theory. He came up with the idea of a language organ, which is known as the Language Acquisition Device (LAD.) the LAD concept is an instinctive mental capacity which enables an infant to acquire and produce language.

•Children learning to speak never make grammatical errors such as getting their subjects, verbs and objects in the wrong order.
•If an adult deliberately said a grammatically incorrect sentence, the child would notice.
•Children often say things that are ungrammatical such as ‘mama ball’, which they cannot have learnt this passively.
•Mistakes such as ‘I drawed’ instead of ‘I drew’ show they are not learning through imitation alone.
•Chomsky used the sentence ‘colourless green ideas sleep furiously’, which is grammatical although it doesn’t make sense, to prove his theory: he said it shows that sentences can be grammatical without having any meaning, that we can tell the difference between a grammatical and an ungrammatical sentence without ever having heard the sentence before, and that we can produce and understand brand new sentences that no one has ever said before. Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist and activist.
He is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years.
Chomsky has been described as the ''father of modern linguistics and a major figure of analytic philosophy".
his work has influenced fields such as computer science, mathematics, and psychology.
He has also been described as a prominent cultural figure.
Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar from 1980 - 1992.
He is also the eighth most cited source of all time, and is considered the ''most cited living author.'' Chomsky is the author of over 100 books. Evidence Against Chomsky's Theory Critics of Chomsky’s theory say that although it is clear that children don’t learn language through imitation alone, this does not prove that they must have an LAD – language learning could merely be through general learning and understanding abilities and interactions with other people. People believe that infants have a set cognitive ability,
(Cognitive abilities are skills, that we need to be able to carry out any task, from the simplest to the most complex. They have more to do with how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention rather than with any actual knowledge.)
but Chomsky's belief is that they would in fact develop a language that all the babies could understand and we all understand things naturally the same way.

Humans are born with a Language Acquisition Device that allows us to understand languages in terms of universal principles.

Chomsky points out that a child could not possibly learn a language through imitation alone because the language spoken around them is highly irregular.

Chomsky's theory applies to all languages as they all contain nouns, verbs, consonants and vowels and children appear to be 'hard-wired' to acquire the grammar. All children become fluent in their native language within five or six years. We agree on certain aspects of Chomsky's theory, this is the idea that there must be something within us when we are born to help us to grasp language. However, as an overall theory we do not agree. There is no evidence to support LAD, which is another reason why we do not agree. Evidence for our view Genie was a girl who had no social interaction from a very early age. Due to this, she could not develop language in full, however after significant help she managed to learn about 200 words. If Chomsky was correct in his theory, she would be able to talk as she would have the LAD to enable her to learn language in full without interaction. There was a girl called Genie who had no social interaction from a very early age. Due to this, she could not develop language skills. If Chomsky's theory about innateness was correct, she would have acquired language. Chomsky believed that language acquisition is innate, but this clearly isn't the case. About Chomsky The Nature Vs Nurture Debate Evidence to support Chomsky’s theory He believes this because: Limitations with this theory - Language does not develop as quickly as Nativist theorists predict. It is a more gradual process. This theory also does not put into account the many different languages spoken throughout the world. Evidence Against Chomsky's Theory Cont. Fin. Now make your own grammatically correct sentence that doesn't make sense,
Remember it must contain a:
- Subject
- Object
- Verb
- Adverbial

I.e: yesterday hungry dog jumped ball. Innate is a natural ability which means you're born with it. This is what Chomsky believed. Hi :)
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