Universal grammar

Language was considered to be not knowledge but behavior before prior to Chomsky’s work of the late fifties. Chomsky believed that language has a universal grammar concerning with the internal structure of human mind. The human brain is somehow equipped at birth with a Universal Grammar out of which all human languages later develop. Noam Chomsky argued that language is a unique human accomplishment. He says that all children have an innate ability that allows them to produce consistent sentences once vocabulary is learned. His claim is based upon the view that what children hear is insufficient to explain how they come to learn language. Yes, the human brain is very complex and it is not completely explained how brain processes despite of many researches. And the language is the most important characteristic of human. When we are born, we have no knowledge, but we have the ability.

And after we born, our brain starts to process the information be taken from our environment. I agree with the idea that “it is simply not true that children can learn language only through “meticulous care” on the part of adults who shape their verbal repertoire through careful differential reinforcement.” It is inevitably true that parents have an important role on language acquisition of children. Children observe firstly their parents and then they try to imitate their words. After some stages, children start to speak. However, parents don’t teach them all rules or principles of language or they don’t correct them when they make a mistake producing sentences. When they reach enough capability, they know automatically how to form and interpret expressions in their native languages. Chomsky distinguishes Externalized (E-) language from Internalized (I-) language. E language linguistics aims to collect samples of language and then to describe their properties.

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The linguist’s task is to bring order to the set of external facts that make up the language. I-language linguists on the other hand are concerned with what a speaker knows about a language and where this language knowledge comes from. I-language treats language as an internal property of the human mind rather than something external. Chomsky’s theories fall within the I-language tradition and aim at exploring the mind rather than environment.

I think that language both externalized and internalized. Because it is true that we are born with some capabilities and we start to develop or use these capabilities by the help of external factors, observing our environment and imitating what we see. Unlike Chomsky, I think that mind is useless without environment. How we can learn a language without interaction with people. Environment is as significant as mind and it should be dealt as much as mind while searching the first language acquisition.

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