Language Learning

What's universal grammar? Evidence rebuts Chomsky's theory of language learning


Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky's "universal grammar" theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages -- and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. The new version of the theory, called principles and parameters, replaced a single universal grammar for all the world's languages with a set of "universal" principles governing the structure of language. They interacted with culture (whether a child was learning Japanese or English) to produce today's variation in languages as well as defined the set of human languages that were possible. Chomsky tried to define the components of the essential tool kit of language -- the kinds of mental machinery that allow hu man language to happen.