Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Upton I 2
Language Acquisition/Nativism/Upton: Def nativism/language development: the nativist position argues that the environmental input from language is insufficient for infants and children to acquire the structure of language. Proponent: Noam Chomsky.
Language acquisition device/LAD/Chomsky/Upton: thesis: there is a “universal grammar” that applies to all human languages and is pre-specified (Chomsky, 1979)(1); Pinker, 2007(2)).
VsNativism: >Language Acquisition/Empiricism.


1. Chomsky, N (1979) Human language and other semiotic systems. Semiotica, 25: 31–44.
2. Pinker, S (2007) The evolutionary social psychology of off-record indirect speech acts. Intercultural Pragmatics, 4(4): 437–61.

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Upton I 74
Language acquisition/Nativism/Upton: [environmentalists assume that] gradually, the child learns the association between the word and the object and tries to imitate the sounds made by the mother – resulting in reinforcement, repetition and so on. Cf. >Myth of the museum.
NativismVs: Nativists such as Noam Chomsky argue that this is too simple an explanation for what is essentially a complex behaviour. In particular, learning theory cannot explain how children are able to construct novel sentences or the ease with which children learn the rules of grammar. There is evidence, for example, that parents do not reinforce or explicitly correct syntax or other grammatical errors (Brown, 1973)(1). Chomsky (1979)(2) argues that there must therefore be an innate mechanism for language learning. He calls this the language acquisition device (LAD). >Language Acquisition/Chomsky.


1. Brown, R. (1973) A First Language: The early stages. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
2. Chomsky, N. (1979) Human language and other semiotic systems. Semiotica, 25: 31–44.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Nativism
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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