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Forty-Four Reasons
Why the Chomskians Are Mistaken

Reasons 9—10

9. The utter irrelevance and ultimate falsehood of their never-ending boast that human beings employ a language system permitting the utterance of an infinitely large number of sentences. This has more than once been held up as a mighty miracle, a true prodigy worthy of our wonder. While such a boast possesses at least a theoretical foundation in a certain number of cases, it can also quite clearly be demonstrated even by relative amateurs that the vast majority of people—Chomskian linguists most definitely included—in fact employ a remarkably limited and often extremely predictable subset of these sentences.

10. Their tacit assumption, just as frequently implied as the prior claims are repeated, that there can be only one theory and process of language learning, as exemplified by infants, when in fact there are certainly at least two theories and processes of language learning, one for the languages we learn to speak as infants, and another for those languages we learn to speak when older, as a fair amount of both empirical and experimental data has in fact confirmed. Infants are poor respondents at best, and their responses can be interpreted quite divergently. Yet no cogent attempt has been made by these "experts" to study and measure the intrinsically more accessible mechanisms of adult language learning. And such studies as have been made remain entrapped in the faulty assumptions of TGG theory and are of little help to those teaching or learning a foreign language among adults.

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This piece is Copyright © 2000
by Alexander Gross, with specified
portions Copyright © 2000 by
Sergio Navega. It may be
reproduced for individuals and for
educational purposes only. It may
not be used for any commercial (i.e.,
money-making) purpose without
written permission from the authors.
All Rights Reserved.

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