The Innateness Hypothesis

Be careful when you think about the Innateness Hypothesis. Everybody agrees that humans have an innate capacity for language. Humans are definitely better at learning human language than any other animals!

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Nobody denies that humans are uniquely well-adapted for learning human languages. No animals can compare with us. However, that is NOT what the Innateness Hypothesis claims. It actually claims that our language ability is special and works separately from our other normal mental abilities. Photo.By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

However, that isn’t what the hypothesis is suggesting. The Innateness Hypothesis claims that the human capacity for language works in a special way, separately and independently from ordinary mental abilities. In recent years, a lot of Linguists have started to argue that we do not really have any good evidence to support this idea.

Anyway, have a look at the PowerPoint slides here.

And here are the Questions.