Noam Chomsky And Neuromsky's Theory Of Language Development

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Language evolution is viewed as a controversial topic across many disciplines. Psychologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists and other members of academic community attempt to provide theories, which would explain such a complex phenomenon. The difficulty in doing so arises from the fact that there is very little evidence that would help to identify the most accurate theory (Pinker, 2003). One of the leading experts in the field of linguistics, Noam Chomsky, suggests that when exploring such a complex phenomenon such as language evolution, language should not be simply viewed as ‘communication’. Alternatively, he defines language as ‘a particular computational cognitive system, implemented neurally, that cannot be equated with an excessively …show more content…
Chomsky suggests that language faculty is innate and it evolved by a single macro mutation at some point during the course of evolution (Chomsky, 1988). ‘Language faculty’ is one of the centre concepts used by Chomsky in forming his ideas on language development; the term was expanded in his paper written in cooperation with Hauser and Fitch, where they defined ‘the faculty of language’ as “many mechanisms involved in speech and language, regardless of their overlap with other cognitive domains or with other species” (Fitch, Hauser, & Chomsky, 2005, p.182). Almost twenty years later, Steven Pinker, who was hugely influenced by Chomsky’s work on language evolution, developed the idea further by proposing that language evolved by natural selection for knowledge and experience …show more content…
Evans argues that language faculty is not a device, which is incorporated into the human brain and that evolution of language was facilitated by cultural intelligence through the gradual process of social changes and evolution of earlier communication systems. Chomsky and Pinker base their theories on Universal Grammar concept, which is the assumption that languages have a similar design and universal structure. The counter argument, which Evans presents to prove their theory to be wrong, is that recent findings in linguistics uncover the existence of languages that do not conform to universal design. For example, Lao, the spoken language in one of the parts of Thailand, does not use any adjectives, which is unusual in comparison to the usual language set: nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. Another example is that many languages have a specific word order, which helps to identify who does what to whom, whereas Inuktitut, the language originated in eastern Canada, use long words created from other words to transfer meaning of a whole sentence. Evans states that the reason why human language is so unique and can not be developed by other species is that we, as human beings, possess cultural intelligence, which essentially led to interdependent social behaviour. In other words, at some point of evolutionary process, humans, guided by social pressures, felt the need to start

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