Chapter

The Role of Universal Grammar in Language-Learning

Fiona Cowie

in What's Within?

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195159783
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849529 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195159783.003.0010

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

The Role of Universal Grammar in Language-Learning

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In contrast to what others may commonly believe, reflecting on the poverty of the stimulus does not sustain or reinforce the notion of learning a language within nativism. Also, although initially opposed, there are a lot more explanatory resources to empiricism than it is given credit for, particularly on issues regarding the domain-neutral mechanism for learning. While the enlightened empiricist would believe that the mechanism for language learning is general in purpose and that the theory choices of learners would be attributed to the knowledge about language that they have already obtained through experience, enlightened empiricism supports the nativist view that learning is restricted by task-specific knowledge and the constraints involved are not fixed. This chapter focuses on linguistics and examines how universal grammar is important in the processes involved in learning a language.

Keywords: nativism; empiricism; enlightened empiricism; general mechanism; language learning; task-specific knowledge; linguistics; universal grammar

Chapter.  18221 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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