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Nativism

In all debates about human development, there is a continuum regarding how much can be attributed to nature (i.e., what is inherited) versus nurture (i.e., what is learned from the physical and social environment). In the debate regarding language acquisition, nativism is on the extreme nature end of the nature–nurture line. Noam Chomsky is most recognized for the modern nativism position of the mid-20th century, with variations of this view also proposed later by Jerry Fodor and Steven Pinker. Chomsky defines language as the unique human ability to use syntax, or word ordering rules, to build phrases, and morphology, or affix ordering rules, to build words. These properties enable a language user to understand and produce an infinite variety of sentences. This ability distinguishes it ...

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