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ERIC Number: ED135220
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Oct-16
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
A Note on Nativism.
Kess, Joseph F.
If the question of what it is that is innate is simply left as some kind of human learning potential, this position, representative of the nativist philosophy, does not differ radically from that of behaviorists. The latter position holds that a human being starts out with a mind which is basically empty and receptive to, subject to, and the natural product of experience. The nativist position holds that the mind is endorsed with fixed learning principles which, in the case of language, predetermine the form of language learning. Argumentation in support of this position, which comes from Chomsky's speculations about what the nature of the human mind must be in order to acquire language, is examined. Four of Chomsky's basic claims are outlined and questioned: (1) human language is quite unlike all other forms of animal communication and possibly represents a case of evolutionary development for the human species; (2) the human organism brings to the language learning process a special set of processing principles which must be assumed to be innate; (3) language is represented in the genetic code; and (4) unique anatomical correlates are linked to unique language development in man. Little literature is devoted to what the actual processes and mechanisms of the hypothesized innate capacity of language learning are. (CLK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Western Conference on Linguistics (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, October 16, 1976)