1) Is there a specific ‘mental module’ for language?
This issue is still nowadays very controversial. Despite, nativists would say that this ‘mental module’does exist and that it is the fact that distinguishes us as humans. Furthermore, according to Chomsky that module that he names UG (Universal Grammar) gives children a general knowledge of language thatafterwards helps them acquiring a particular language quickly and easily.
In the other hand, a cognitive view has doubts about the existence of this module for language as a separate entity. Theysupport their theory by saying that our brain work in terms of neural networks that relate linguistic knowledge and other forms of symbolic knowledge.
Symbolist theories believe that the linguisticknowledge is based on two things: a set of symbols and rules for combining them in order to construct sentences of a language. In contrast, connectionist theories think that it is a matter of ‘a complexnetwork of associations that allows for parallel processing’. Thus, there is no clear distinction between symbols and rules although they are there in those associations.
Finally, Hulstijn (2002) hasfound a middle ground between the last two. According to him certain associations become mini-networks seen as a symbol which can evolve into a rule due to a constant activation.
2) How‘automatic’ are implicit and explicit knowledge?
The implicit knowledge is that of which the speaker is not aware. It is automatized and proceduralized and the speaker has immediate access to it. In explicitknowledge the speaker is not only aware of it but also is capable of verbalize it. It is available only via controlled processing. With practice the speaker can reach the ‘false automatization’ of itbut never get the same level of automatization of the implicit knowledge.
3) What’s a ‘dual mode’ system?
Linguistic knowledge is based in both rules and example. This is what we call the...