Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Innate Theory


The Innate theory is a prevailing perspective on first language (L1) acquisition. It was proposed by the famous 20th century American linguist Noam Chomsky. The theory postulates that human beings have the general ability to acquire language and that this ability comes from a Language Acquisition Device or LAD. The LAD is genetically set in the brain and consists of Universal Grammar or UG. UG contains language universals or specific grammatical rules and principles that are common to all human languages. But this concept of innateness is not the sole innovation of Chomsky. His innateness hypothesis is related to the concept of Plato’s and Descartes’ innateness ideas. Even the idea of a Universal Grammar is related to the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the speculative woks of those medieval Modistae Grammarians, and the prescriptive approaches of the 17th century Port-Royal Grammarians.

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