Nature or Nurture?

Goooooooooooood

Linguistic/Innatist Theory

Principles of language are inborn not learned.

Language is a hardwired bioprogram that develops when infants are exposed to it.

Acquiring language is like learning to walk.

Language Acquisition Device (LAD) 
    Theorized by Noam Chomsky 
    
    An "organ" of the brain that functions as a congenital device for language acquisition. 

    The LAD provides humans with an innate “rules” that enable language acquisition 

Internalizing Grammar 
“Young children arrive at successful grammar structures much more readily than professional linguists.” (Lightfoot,    
    1982) 

    i.e. Linguists spend years to discover a language’s grammatical rules while children intuit those same rules of    
    language quickly and accurately. 

Innate Developments of Language

    Case Study: 
Deaf children’s parents did not want them to learn sign language. The children had not yet entered a program 
           that would teach them lip reading or oral language skills, yet even with no exposure to any kind of language, 
            the children developed their own systems of manual sign communication that incorporated most formal 
            features of language. (Goldin-Meadow & Mylander, 1990) 

Innate Developments  of Language 

Hawaiian children who learned only pidgin transformed pidgin into Creole – a true language with complex grammatical 
    forms much more complex than their parents. (Bickerton, 1984) 

Support for the Innatist Theory 

    Children can produce a word that they’ve never heard before and can properly apply internalized grammatical rules 
    to that word
    ex) Tatty Tatties

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