Language learning in infancy: Does the empirical evidence support a domain specific language acquisition device?

Philosophical Psychology 21 (5):641 – 671 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Poverty of the Stimulus Arguments have convinced many linguists and philosophers of language that a domain specific language acquisition device (LAD) is necessary to account for language learning. Here we review empirical evidence that casts doubt on the necessity of this domain specific device. We suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the early stages of language acquisition. Many seemingly innate language-related abilities have to be learned over the course of several months. Further, the language input contains rich stochastic information that can be accessed by domain-general learning mechanisms. Computer simulation has shown how mechanisms that are not domain specific can exploit the information contained in language. We conclude that (i) Poverty of the Stimulus Arguments need to be conceptually clarified and (ii) more empirical research needs to be carried out before we can rule out that data driven general purpose mechanisms can account for language learning.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,594

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-03-08

Downloads
123 (#100,283)

6 months
1 (#418,924)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Christina Behme
Mount Saint Vincent University

Citations of this work

Phenomenal Intentionality and the Problem of Representation.Walter Ott - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (1):131--145.
Human Kinship, From Conceptual Structure to Grammar.Doug Jones - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (5):367.
Grammar as a Developmental Phenomenon.Guy Dove - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):615-637.

Add more citations