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Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Chomsky's approach to Language Acquisition.

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  • Essay length: 1239 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Developmental Psychology

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Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Chomsky's approach to Language Acquisition.

Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known and influential linguist of the second half of the Twentieth Century. He has made a number of claims about language, in particular he suggests that language is an innate discipline in that we are born with a set of rules about language in our heads which he refers to as the 'Universal Grammar'. The universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages build. In Chomsky's early work, this takes the form of an innate structure called the Language Acquisition Device (LAD).

Psychologists have produced several accounts of infant language acquisition, which differ in their underlying theoretical perspectives. Behavioural perspectives in Language acquisition identified a sequence in language development. Skinner (1957) argued that language was learned by the child through the process of operant conditioning, a process of stimulus-response where a result occurs as a consequence of actions and that the environment in which a child lives reinforces behaviour. Skinner suggests that the prelinguistic stage of language in which a baby cries with hunger, pain and anger at the early stages and then progresses on to cooing and

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