chapter  9
33 Pages

Some elements of the study of language as a cognitive capacity: Luigi Rizzi

The first part of the chapter is devoted to an illustration of some basic points of linguistic analysis: the knowledge of language which guides our linguistic behavior can be fruitfully modeled as a system computing mental representations, rapid, efficient and largely inaccessible to conscious introspection; the study of language acquisition reveals the necessity ofpostulating a rich predetermined basis, a special "instinctive tendency" to acquire language, to use Charles Darwin's expression; much work on Universal Grammar is an attempt to phrase and address these issues within the research style of modem scientific inquiry.