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Reading response 3 - Assignment Example

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The book has examined whether language is limited to human beings and how children acquire the technique of language, and whether language is innate or has to be learnt. The first chapter is mainly…
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Download file to see previous pages Skinner links human’s usage of words with external events like a person will always use appreciative words on seeing a beautiful picture. However, Chomsky has heavily criticized Skinner’s explanation of language since how a person will react to an event depends on the person’s perspective. For instance, a picture which seems beautiful to someone may seem hideous to another person. Chomsky has mostly rejected Skinner’s work by arguing that the latter’s experiments on animals are not relevant to the concept of language (Aitchison, 2011, pp.7-23).
The eighth chapter is based on Chomsky’s views on transformational grammar. For an alien to learn the language of humans at first it may seem that the easy way is to memorize all sentences that one may hear. However, this is a completely disastrous method of learning language since in this method one is not trying to understand any patterns in the words within a sentence. In any given situation, uttering sentences with words without understanding the meaning will solve no problem. Moreover, a sentence can be too long for memorizing. The important thing is to focus on the rule in which a speaker utters words in a sentence since a language is structured with words. Chomsky has talked about transformations which links the hidden structure and the surface structure of sentences. He has also stated that there is no concrete set of rules to decide which sentences are permissible in English (Aitchison, 2011, pp.170-186).
The tenth chapter deals with how human beings deal with sound in general and provides a framework of speech perception. Earlier, psycholinguists believed that to understand language one just needs to link words with sounds uttered by the speaker. However, this fingerprint approach has been rejected by modern psycholinguists for three reasons. Firstly, the speed with which a speaker utters words cannot be possible for the listener to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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