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To what extent does language develop according to Language Acquisition Device,...

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lt1017 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted July 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM via web

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To what extent does language develop according to Language Acquisition Device, suggested by Noam Chomsky?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chomsky's benchmark book Language and the Mind, (1972) language is described as a separate entity that not only should be studied from a cognitive and behavioral perspective, but also from an anthropological and historical one as well.

When we study human language, we are approaching what some might call the 'human essence,' the distinctive qualities of mind that are, so far as we know, unique to man.

One of the salient traits of Chomsky's theory is the existence of a linguistic corpus within the neurological system which he named the Language Acquisition Device (LAD). The idea is that this corpus enables the process of making the sound and meaning connections associated with speech into meaning. The more exposure there is to language, the more the LAD saturates thus creating a bridge between meaning and understanding. With habituation, language becomes cemented within the brain. 

If we analyze language learning from the perspective of Chomsky's generative language hypothesis it is safe to say that language develops ongoing throughout life and to its entirety. What this means is that, as we interact with others there arise more opportunities for language exposure. Throughout life, we speak with a range of individuals whose own language usage may be different than our own. From those experiences we pick up new words, we learn to change our intonation, and create new semantic meanings. As long as the individual continues to communicate, language will continue expanding, generating, and regenerating. Therefore language develops completely under Chomsky's hypothetical scenario of generative language, which is part of his language acquisition theory. 

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