The Most Important Intellectuals Of The Xx Century Essay

The Most Important Intellectuals Of The Xx Century Essay

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Noah Chomsky is one of the most important intellectuals of the XX century, has influenced different intellectuals and for some people is known as the father of the modern linguistics. The subject of innateness hypothesis, which i have introduced before, is one of the main topics of his bibliography.
According to Chomsky the children have a sort of natural and innate predisposition for acquiring the language and they own this ability from when they are born. This peculiarity distinguishes us and them from the other animals. Children do not copy the language they hear, but they learn a repertoire of infinite sentences.
He affirms that every child has this Competence, which allows that the language could be developed, despite all the difficulties and situations present in the environment in which this child lives. Apart from the Competence there is also the Performance, the linguistic capabilities of a person. Competence and Performance are connected. (Clark 2009 First Language Acquisition). By living in this environment, the child will be able to set up rules referred to grammar and will be able to understand that some words are used for objects and others for express an action. This ability to speak is assimilated before they go to school, so nobody teaches them their own language. Therefore since from the first period of when they are born, Chomsky says that they have an inner predisposition to talk and to express words that they have never heard before; this is made possible by a sort of black box, the LAD,(Language Acquisition device), which can be found in the brain. This particular device should be able to help c...


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...uire different symbols, these results cannot be compared to children’s language acquisition ability.
There has been also another important study on primates that I would like to mention that support Chomsky’s theory. The name of this experiment is Project Nim: Dr. Herbert S. Terrace led the experiments and he was a Behaviorist. The results of this experiment were not good for him and his Behaviourism. Nim, the primate, formed utterances, but without a real in word order and using function words. Between the utterances only 12% were spontaneous and 88% were a response. As we can see also in this experiment he is not able to acquire language in the same way children do.

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