Chomsky on the Evolution of the Language Faculty: Presentation and Perspectives for Further Research

In Nicholas Allott, Terje Lohndal & Georges Rey (eds.), A Companion to Chomsky. Wiley. pp. 476–487 (2021)
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Abstract

The most remarkable about the continuity in Chomsky's thought about language is that it takes place against a theoretical landscape in constant flux, the landscape of generative grammar. Chomsky introduced a central distinction between E‐languages and I‐language, the internalized knowledge of language that each speaker has and which is the result of the interaction between his or her language faculty and the (limited) experience that he or she had of his or her mother tongue during language acquisition. The Faculty of Language narrowly understood corresponds to “the abstract linguistic computational system alone, independent of the other systems with which it interacts”. This chapter aims to follow the trail of Chomsky's strongly reiterated claim throughout the years that language is not primarily a tool for communication, but rather, a tool for thought.

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