The stages of language acquisition ……………....…......…..
What are the processes of language acquisition.
Nativism is, of course, one possibility. Natural selection might havebuilt a specialized language faculty, containing inborn knowledge about language (e.g., knowledge of UG), which subsequently was selected for because it helped human children to acquire linguistic competence, and having linguistic competence enhanced our ancestors' fitness. A problem with this hypothesis, however, is that it is unclear how a language faculty containing innate representations of UG might have arisen in the human mind. One view is that the languagefaculty was built up piecemeal by natural selection. This approach underlies Pinker and Bloom's (1990) and Jackendoff's (1999) proposalsas to the adaptive functions of various grammatical features and devices. Other nativists, however, reject the adaptationist framework. For instance, Berwick 1998, has argued that efforts to explain the piecemeal development of knowledge of linguistic universals in our species may be unnecessary in light of the new, Minimalist conception of syntax (see Chomsky 1995). On this view, all parametric constraints and rules of syntax are consequences of a fundamental syntactic process called Merge: once Merge was in place, Berwick argues, the rest of UG automatically followed. Chomsky, taking another tack, has suggested that language is a ‘spandrel,’ a byproduct of other non-linguistically directed selective processes, such as “the increase in brain size and complexity” (1982:23). And finally Bickerton 1998, on yet another tack, posits a massive saltative episode in which large chunks of syntax emerged all at once, although this posit is implicitly withdrawn in Calvin and Bickerton 2000.
Innateness hypothesis - Wikipedia
The literature on language evolution is too large to survey in this article (but see Botha 2003 for an excellent overview and critique).Suffice it to note that as yet, no consensus has emerged as to how innate knowledge of UG might have evolved from whatever preadaptations existed in our ancestors. Of course, this is not in itself a problem for linguistic nativists: formulating and testing hypotheses about human cognitive evolution is a massively difficult enterprise, due largely to the difficulty of finding evidence bearing on one's hypothesis. (See Lewontin 1998 and Sterelny2003:95-116.)