The stages of language acquisition ……………....…......…..

Finally, the critical period is discussed and compared to cases of abnormal language acquisition.

What are the processes of language acquisition.

On the other hand, Chomsky's theory is empirical, but different from behaviorism linguistics. On the issue of "innate structure", Harman does not accept Chomsky's theory of innate structures. He said: "I view linguistics, it is closer to both anthropology and the behavioral sciences than he would apparently allow." Quine argues: "This indisputable point about language is in no conflict with latter-day attitudes that are associated with the name of empiricism, or behaviorism. There are two major differences between behaviorism and Chomsky's theory. Behaviorism treats a complex system as a black box, a functional mechanism. If two black box function exact the same, behaviorism and functionalism regards them exact the same. This is Quine's so-called 'enigma doctrine'. He says, "English speakers obey, in this sense, any and all of the extensionally equivalent systems of grammar that demarcate the right totality of well-formed English sentences." However, Chomsky's "theories of grammar and UG are empirical theories" and his systems of grammar is physically encoded in some manner. The development of brain science will discover the very physical structure of human brain, and there can be only one of a set of "extensionally equivalent systems of grammar" is correctly attributed to the speaker-hearer as a property that is the same as that is physically encoded, where some other one merely happens to fit the speaker's behavior but does not correctly represent the physical facts. The second difference is reflected by the relationship between I-language and E-language. E-language, as the traditional behaviorist linguistics, deals with steady-state language, or mature language; while I-language in Chomsky's theory specifies not only the internal characteristics of language, but also deals with a dynamic process, language acquiring process, from initial state to the steady state . E-language is independent of a individual's history, while I-language explains the language aspect of individual's history. This dynamic process puts more constraints on the characteristics of the languages. I-languages may reach the same steady state and realize the steady state languages that have "extensionally equivalent systems of grammar"; while these I-languages may specify different dynamic processes that reach . These processes differentiate I-languages one another and some of them can be proved to be wrong theories regarding the language acquisition process. Therefore, extensionally equivalent systems of grammar in the traditional grammar sense is not necessarily equivalent in terms of I-language.

Innateness hypothesis - Wikipedia

First language acquisition relies chiefly on positive evidence; the child apparently receives little direct negative evidence in the form of correction of syntax (Brown and Hanlon 1970).

Nagel questioned whether the initial contribution of the organism to language-learning is properly described as knowledge. Dummett questions the concept of unconscious knowledge. He holds that there is an extremely important innate capacity but it would not called innate knowledge in either case. Chomsky introduces "cognize" in trying to resolve the issue, which we think it might be superficial. In computer science, a computation can be either realized through software, which is written in computer language, or through hardware, which is built by the logic circuits composed of physical parts. Both functions exactly the same. If we can do an extrapolation or analogy, ideas might be realized through abstract symbol systems or through neural-network. The two mode of structures may have effects on the recognizability. This is a speculation. But our point is that UG is proposed as hypothesis, and if the 'notion of structure' is correct, other hypothesis may be assumed on what kind of structure is and how the structure operates. The final settlement relies on new development of brain sciences.


on the innateness of language, ..

The reigning experimental paradigms in mid-20th centuryAmerican psychology were for the most part variants ofBehaviorism. B.F. Skinner’s behaviorist account of languageacquisition and use (Skinner 1957) in many ways marks the end of thisdominance—or at least the beginning of the end—because itwas the target of a very influential attack by Chomsky (1959). Thisattack convinced many of the inherent limits of behaviorist theorizing(see Cowie 2010 for details).

with Noam Chomsky as the principal spokesman

The link between linguistics and innateness comes in a secondimportant move: the psychologization of grammars. Chomsky arguedthat every speaker of a language has a mental representation of itsgrammar. This sets up a natural question—how did thegrammar get into the speaker’s head?—and twotraditional answers immediately present themselves. TheEmpiricist would aim to show that the grammar (if it indeed isin the head) could be learned from experience in much the way onelearns other facts about the world. The Nativist, in contrast, is ready toconsider that learning a language—now reconceived as a matter ofgrammar acquisition—depends in some way on a language-specificinnate endowment. This brings us to the third importantstep. Chomsky argued that a comparison of (i) the grammar thathas to be acquired, and (ii) the idiosyncrasies of the acquisitionprocess and the data presented to the language-learner, favors theNativist approach.

takes this as evidence in fav our of the innateness hypothesis

In his famous review of Skinner's book, Chomsky (1959) effectively demolishes Skinner's theories of both language mastery and language learning. First, Chomsky argued, mastery of a language is not merely a matter of having one's verbal behaviors ‘controlled’ byvarious elements of the environment, including others' utterances. For language use is (i) stimulus independent and (ii) historically unbound. Language use is stimulus independent: virtually anywords can be spoken in response to any environmental stimulus, depending on one's state of mind. Language use is also historically unbound: what we say is not determined by our history of reinforcement, as is clear from the fact that we can and do say things that we have not been trained to say.

Chomsky s innateness hypothesis | Jelks & White

One of the reason that he is regarded as a rationalist might be that Chomsky tries to differentiate himself from the linguistic behaviorism and he emphasizes some of reasonable core of "rationalism" to make a statement that my "sausage-making machines" is not but has complex, dedicated parts and structure. The other reason is the tradition of the rationalist philosophy of language, philosophical grammar. He is not satisfied with the explanatory power of the descriptive grammar. Philosophical grammar is "typically concerned with data not for itself but as evidence for deeper, hidden organizing principles,..." However, it may be surprising, his term 'rationalism' is equivalent to 'natural science', He states that the issue of rationalist philosophy of language "is not between descriptive and prescriptive grammar, but between description and explanation, between grammar as 'natural history' and grammar as a kind of 'natural philosophy' or, in modern terms, 'natural science.'" He particularly criticizes the lack of physical, empirical aspects of Cartesian rationalism.