Language Is A Fundamental Aspect Of Human Cognition Essay

Language Is A Fundamental Aspect Of Human Cognition Essay

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Language is a fundamental aspect of human interaction and societal growth; however, its origins within cognition are still not completely understood and remain debatable. One of the most historically accepted explanations of language acquisition proposes that language is an innate characteristic within humans. This hypothesis suggests that language is unique to human cognition in that there is a specialized, genetic predisposition for humans to acquire language and individuals are born with a unique faculty to identify and understand language patterns and grammatical structures. The issue with such proposition is the fixation on indemonstrable, preprogrammed language-specific faculties within the brain. Instead, it is more likely that language and the rules of grammar are invented and modified as a result of cognitive processes such as rule development and pattern finding.
The concept of an innate human disposition towards language has been referenced among philosophers for centuries. In fact, innate language capacity in relation to grammar construction has been a popular mode of argumentation differentiating the cognitive capacities of humans and of other animal species. In his Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes notes, "there are no men so dull and stupid...as to be incapable of joining together different words [yet] no other animal, however perfect or happily circumstanced, which can do the like"(Descartes 22). Philosophical discourse on the nature of language became considerably more refined in the past century and several opposing views on language acquisition arose. Despite this, American linguist, Noam Chomsky proposed the popular Innateness Hypothesis which bears a resemblance to older philosophical thinking.
Chomsky po...


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...and is repeatedly modified with added patterns or corrected rules. Corrected rules are formed by the child 's self recognition of pattern mistakes compared to those of the adult. Eventually the working grammar will match that of the adult.
Chomsky 's Innate Hypothesis and Universal Grammar have been popular theories about the nature of language acquisition that revolutionized the field of linguistics. While his ideas contributed significantly to the discipline, recent findings and theories have suggested that language is not necessarily an innate ability, but an active construction based on internal cognitive rule and pattern finding as well as constrains from the environment. The Active Construction theory better explains language acquisition by presenting it in empirically demonstrable terms without relying on metaphysical explanations and a pirori knowledge.

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