David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Cognitive Science 35 (7):1207-1242 (2011)
A central goal of modern generative grammar has been to discover invariant properties of human languages that reflect “the innate schematism of mind that is applied to the data of experience” and that “might reasonably be attributed to the organism itself as its contribution to the task of the acquisition of knowledge” (Chomsky, 1971). Candidates for such invariances include the structure dependence of grammatical rules, and in particular, certain constraints on question formation. Various “poverty of stimulus” (POS) arguments suggest that these invariances reflect an innate human endowment, as opposed to common experience: Such experience warrants selection of the grammars acquired only if humans assume, a priori, that selectable grammars respect substantive constraints. Recently, several researchers have tried to rebut these POS arguments. In response, we illustrate why POS arguments remain an important source of support for appeal to a priori structure-dependent constraints on the grammars that humans naturally acquire
|Keywords||Statistics Language acquisition Linguistics Syntax|
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References found in this work BETA
Noam Chomsky (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. The Mit Press.
Noam A. Chomsky (1980). Discussion of Putnam's Comments. In Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (ed.), Language and Learning: The Debate Between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky. Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Alexander Clark & Shalom Lappin (2013). Complexity in Language Acquisition. Topics in Cognitive Science 5 (1):89-110.
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