Pinker Chapter 2

Pinker Chapter 2 - Pinker: Language Instinct Pinker:...

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    Pinker: Language Instinct Pinker: Language Instinct Chapter 2 Chapter 2     Chatterboxes Chatterboxes Dr. Swathi Vanniarajan Dr. Swathi Vanniarajan Ling 161: Psycholinguistics Ling 161: Psycholinguistics
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    1. Language is way too complex as a system; can  this be interpreted as a sign that it is genetic  and is unlearnable? Questions to ponder
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    Questions to ponder 2. Can we call creolization (or even pidginization)  as an evidence for the presence of faculty for  mental grammar (=universal grammar)? 3. Do we have sufficient evidence to claim that  there is grammatical gene in human beings?
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    Characteristics of human language Language is innate - human beings are born with genes  for grammar A universal characteristic of human beings  No mute tribe has ever been discovered  Without language, one cannot express “abstract concepts,  invisible entities, and complex trains of reasoning.”
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    Characteristics of human language All languages are equally complex and do have their own  ways of expressing the concepts equally well. “The universality of complex language is “the first reason  to suspect that language is not just cultural invention  but the product of a special human instinct.”
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    Characteristics of human language Complexity of human language is a universal phenomenon and  children continually reinvent it generation after generation, not  because they are taught, not because they are generally smart, not  because it is universal to them, but because they just can’t help it. Universal grammar simply reflects the universal exigencies of 
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Pinker Chapter 2 - Pinker: Language Instinct Pinker:...

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