What makes me human?: Noam Chomsky on language acquisition | BBC Radio 4

Emergence refers to the ways a complex phenomenon can emerge as a functional unit defined by the behavior of its constituent units. This is similar to the idea that a whole can be more than the sum of its parts, but with the understanding that the whole and its parts refer to patterns of interaction at different levels of scale. What Chomsky describes as a language acquisition device is very likely a unitary perspective of a system representing the integrated whole of less complex, multi-scale systems of interaction.

[C]hildren learning to speak just don’t have enough information to form the complex grammatical maneuvers that allow them to generate unlimited new and original sentences, yet they do so with ease… Chomsky’s hypothesis was that there are inborn structures in our brain, what he called a language acquisition device, or a LAD, which gives us a natural propensity to organize the spoken language that we hear in various grammatical ways. Without that, we couldn’t get started as language learners. If he’s right, language structure is hardwired as a kind of universal grammar.



Reference

What makes me human?: Noam Chomsky on language acquisition | BBC Radio 4

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