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Which are the relevant contributions of the American linguist Noam Chomsky about his generative theory of Language?
Perhaps his most influential and time-tested contribution to the field, is theclaim that modeling knowledge of language using a formal grammar accounts for the "productivity" of language. In other words, a formal grammar of a language can explain the ability of a hearer-speaker toproduce and interpret an infinite number of utterances, including novel ones, with a limited set of grammatical rules and a finite set of terms.
It is a popular misconception that Chomsky provedthat language is entirely innate and discovered a "universal grammar" (UG). In fact, Chomsky simply observed that while a human baby and a kitten are both capable of inductive reasoning, if they areexposed to the exact same linguistic data, the human child will always acquire the ability to understand and produce language, while the kitten will never acquire either ability. Chomsky labeled whateverthe relevant capacity the human has which the cat lacks the "language acquisition device" (LAD) and suggested that one of the tasks for linguistics should be to figure out what the LAD is and whatconstraints it puts on the range of possible human languages. The universal features that would result from these constraints are often termed "universal grammar".
The Principles and Parameters approach(P&P)—developed in his Pisa 1979 Lectures claim that the grammatical principles underlying languages are innate and fixed, and the differences among the world's languages can be characterized interms of parameter settings in the brain (such as the pro-drop parameter, which indicates whether an explicit subject is always required, as in English, or can be optionally dropped, as in Spanish), whichare often likened to switches. In this view, a child learning a language need only acquire the necessary lexical items (words, grammatical morphemes, and idioms), and determine the appropriate...
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