Critically assess the view put forward by linguist Noam Chomsky that children are "predisposed", to learn language with ease because their brains contain "language acquisition devices".

Essay by tinytinCollege, UndergraduateA-, June 2008

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The ability to use language as a mean to interpret the world; to express ourselves; and to communicate with other members in the society is one of fundamental aspect that made human being a distinctive species of living organism. Some psychologists regard it as a “unique human activity” that gives us a tremendous advantage over all other animals (Miller 1981 cited by Kagan & Segal). Acquiring a mother tongue seems come naturally to each individual, regardless of culture and nationality. Comparing to other knowledge, it requires much lesser effort of learning. People may be illiterate but his ability to converse with the others will remain rather unaffected. What this phenomenon is telling us? Is the ability to learn a language innate as suggested by Chomsky? Or people are learning language through observation as suggested by Albert Bandura? And could Skinner’s view towards language development and learning explain it? Which one of them gives us a better explanation of why children develop language in the way they do?Language here, we are referring to the mother tongue of human beings.

A baby will try out his vocal organ by making some basic sounds, known as phonemes. And then, he will combine the phonemes to form prefix or suffix that are known as morphemes. With these basic units, language development will go onto the using of words, utterance, speech act and so on. What rule or theory is governing this development?The linguist, Noam Chomsky (1957) believed that all language are grammatically and linguistic universals though they are spoken and written differently. He suggested a hypothetical model: the Language Acquisition Device (LAD), which attempts to explain language development by inferring what must be going on in the child’s brain, but without bring able to observe it directly. The LAD is a device that individuals...