New perspectives on language development and the innateness of grammatical knowledge - HAL-SHS - Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société Access content directly
Journal Articles Language Sciences Year : 2005

New perspectives on language development and the innateness of grammatical knowledge

Christophe Parisse

Abstract

Chomsky [Chomsky, N., 1965. Aspects of The Theory of Syntax. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass; Chomsky, N., 1986. Knowledge of Language: its Nature, Origin, and Use. Praeger, New York] presents a series of arguments for an innate syntactic component of the language faculty. Do the arguments proposed at that time still stand, or have they been overridden by newer proposals? The current paper emphasizes three research directions among the most recent advances in cognitive science. These directions lead to alternate proposals to the generative linguistic theoryof language development. First, the item-based theoryof language development, which stresses that development of language knowledge goes from specific to general and is compatible with developing research in cognitive linguistics. Second, the apparent uniformityof adult linguistic competence, which is a fundamental tenet of generative linguistics theory, may be the product of literate cultures but not of invariants of the brain, as attested bythe fundamental differences found between spoken and written language. Third, artificial neural networks provide evidence against the necessityto call on algebraic rules to explain language performance and this, in turn, argues in favor of the emergence approach and of the dynamic systems approach to language development. All this calls for a renewal of language development theories and for a separation between statistical, non-algebraic, non-conscious, item-based, and usage-based structures and processes dedicated to spoken language (and to automatized written language processes), and principle-and-rule-governed, algebraic structures and processes dedicated to conscious written or formal spoken language.

Domains

Linguistics
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Dates and versions

halshs-00090997 , version 1 (05-09-2006)

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Christophe Parisse. New perspectives on language development and the innateness of grammatical knowledge. Language Sciences, 2005, 27, pp.383-401. ⟨10.1016/j.langsci.2004.09.015⟩. ⟨halshs-00090997⟩
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