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Chapter 17 Chomsky & After

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1 Chapter 17 Chomsky & After
Amanda Salcido

2 Darwin Language certainly is not a true instinct, for every language has to be learnt …however man has an instinctive tendency to speak What does he mean? That man has been evolutionarily designed to be able to speak but without being exposed to language we will not just begin to use a language

3 Vocal tract nasal cavity, oral cavity, lips, tongue, alveolar ridge, palate, velum, uvula, pharynx, larynx, glottis

4 Chimpanzee vs. human

5 Before Chomsky Language was thought to be learned through thing like conditioning or generalization This would explain why some children who have grown up without contact with language did not acquire the ability to use language

6 Problems with this idea
Reinforcement: most parents do not correct ungrammatical usage but correct when the information is not correct …parents’ verbal reinforcement is based on the “truth value” not grammaticality Imitation: children do not here phrase they produce ie: adults do not say things like “what the boy hit?” and “mommy get it my ladder”

7 What Chomsky had noticed
1. Even though each language has a finite number of word, there are an infinite number of novel sentences that a person can say that others in the at language understand They must be using generative grammar- Generative grammar- an unexpressed understanding of a language that has established rules that specify all grammatically correct sentences even though there are an infinite number of possible sentences.

8 Why language is not just something you learn
2. children are able to produce and understand sentences that they have never heard before Children are able to do this despite their poverty of input Poverty of Input- lack of experience with the language These two things lead Chomsky to believe that language is more instinct then a learned behavior

9 How is this all possible when language can be very different?
Chomsky proposed the theory of a universal grammar A basic set of rules that state the ‘rage of possible grammars for all possible human languages’ It determines the class of human language that can be acquired unconsciously without instruction in the early years of life Thus with universal grammar and the predisposition to apply them to the language being heard children can over come the poverty of the input

10 Two basic tasks to learning a language
Acquiring a vocabulary of words that stand for concepts Most of the vocabulary is arbitrary linked to the object they are referring to Arbitrary- no physical connection between the sound and the meaning/entities ie: English: cat, Dutch: Kat, French: chat, Italian: gatto Acquiring the rules for arranging sequences of words – grammatical rules Children are very good at this but do fall pray to some things like generalization….

11 Is the universal grammar really what is at hand?
Chomsky’s responses super rules – a consistency in word order that forms part of a child's innate universal grammar One of the first stages would be for the brain to determine if the language to be used is more word ordered or inflection based Once that has been determined then a new set of switch will ‘appear’ and need to be flipped into any on or off position

12 Evidence that grammatical rules are under genetic control
Myra Gopnik and Mc Gill suggest that there is a dominate gene that causes familia dysphaisa Familia dysphaisa- difficulties with the rules for changing tense and forming plurals They had studied 16 family members that were spread over 3 generations Family members also had difficulties with detecting grammatical errors in both speech and writing

13 Critical age hypothesis
The ability to learn a native language develops within a fixed period from birth to puberty During this time learning is easy and does not require very much instruction After this period a lot more instruction is required and mastery of the language is never fully achieved

14 What happens when a child is not exposed to language
Amala & Kanala (grew up with wolves) Genie (kept in a small room from 18months to 14 years of age No one spoke or knew any language They were unable to a acquire language even with linguistic teaching Learned large vocabulary but syntax and morphology never fully developed Syntax- the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language Morphology- patterns of word formation in a particular language

15 What happens when a child is not exposed to language
Chelsea Originally diagnosed as retarded At age 31 was correctly diagnosed and fitted for hearing aids Could not reach a 3year olds speech ability

16 The result of immigration of people from many location
Pidgin- a simplified or broken form of language varies from speaker to speaker and from location to location Lacks vocabulary, syntax, articles, conjunctions, prepositions, tenses and auxiliary verbs Still more complex then imagined, still rule governed Word order is typically reflected by the rules of the persons first language Used to communicate to others who did not speak the same language ie: used for trading Created by adults and only spoken as a second language

17 Pidgin and children Creole- language often spoke when children are raised in a polyglot community where pidgin is the only common language between the members When pidgin is adopted as a native tongue and used by the child as the first language More consistent from speaker to speaker Has a larger vocabulary, regular word order and syntax and is only a little less complex then a typical language

18 Creole Brickerton argues that the grammar used in Creole is the result of the innate linguistic abilities of children Why? Because Creole begins with children Because there are two many differences between Creole and other possible language donors

19 Is Brickerton correct? Studies comparing Creole language from around the world show that there are more similarities between each Creole language then any other language Brickerton concludes ‘derivers from the structure of a species-specific program for language, genetically coded and expressed…in the structure and modes of operation of the human brain’

20 Differences Universal grammar suggest that there is a mechanism that flips switches to engage or disengage rules appropriate for the language being learned Species-specific program of language would be the grammatical structure before any switches are flipped Children do not grow up speaking Creole because they have to make changes to fit the linguistic input When children make mistakes in there language it often mistakes consistent with Creole language

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