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Noam Chomsky's Perspective of Language Learning

One attempt to apply Chomsky's notions to foreign language learning can be seen in a conceptual article written by Fraser (1970) who noted that because of the dominance of transformational grammar in linguistic research, it was imperative that the English as a Foreign Language teacher be aware of the terminology, tenets and results of Chomsky's particular approach to language and language learning.

Specifically, Fraser stated that a thorough understanding of transformation grammar would provide English as a Foreign Language teachers with specific insights into students' language learning of English. In this regard, Fraser reported that this understanding would help teachers to: become aware of the sorts of errors most likely to occur among learners of English as a second language and of the linguistic facts which underlay these errors; further, he felt that a complete understanding of transformation grammar would also facilitate teachers' insight into the way or ways in which the errors might be remedied.

Whereas Frazer's approach to Chomsky's work is conceptual, some authors have taken a more empirical approach; these more empirical examinations have yielded mixed support for Chomsky's views in relation to foreign language learning. For example, to aid in the selection of rules to be included in an error analysis of Brazilian students learning English, an experiment was undertaken by Baptista (1984) in which she compared Chomsky's (1968) notions with those of Guierre's; the purpose was to discover which rules lead most frequently to the same stress assignment that native English speakers would give to unfamiliar words. Nonsense words were used to guarantee lack of familiarity.

Based on findings it was concluded that only five of Chomsky rules (one rule coincided with one of Guierre's) were as consistently followed as Guierre's suffix rules. The principal factors causing nonrule stress placement were a different interpr...

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Noam Chomsky's Perspective of Language Learning. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:48, July 27, 2017, from
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