In 1957, Chomsky introduced the concept of language acquisition device (LAD) which was used to account for the language acquisition competence of human beings. He believed that acquiring the first language is the function of the human brain or an innate structure. The introduction of UG or Universal Grammar is also credited to Chomsky.
Chomsky believed that humans are born with:
- LAD, a set of language learning tools.
- LAD is an abstract part of the human mind which enables humans to acquire and produce language.
- Since they are equipped with LAD, children can acquire rules of a language through hypothesis testing
- LAD transforms these rules into basic grammar.
According to Chomsky, “the LAD explains why children seem to have the innate ability to acquire a language and accounts for why no explicit teaching is required for a child to acquire a language.”
Advantages of Noam Chomsky’s Theory of Language Development
- Chomsky gives examples for every aspect of his theory to prove its efficiency.
- LAD allows children to correct adults if they’re speaking grammatically incorrectly.
- With LAD, all children can learn a language at the same rate regardless of the language they speak.
- With LAD, children won’t speak incorrectly apart from getting words in the wrong order.
Disadvantages of Noam Chomsky’s Theory of Language Development
- The theory has a lack of scientific evidence to support it.
- It lays a lot of stress on grammar in sentence structure
- There is inadequate information about how children construct meaning from their sentences.
- The theory does not pay attention to children with conditions such as Down’s Syndrome.
Chomsky rejected Skinner’s Behaviorism Theory because he felt that there is more to language acquisition than stimulus-response. He rejected the idea of operant conditioning. He also believed that the theory was lacking and thought that innateness was an important aspect of language acquisition.