On the legitimacy of Emergentism and Chaos complexity theory as conceivable challenges to the nativist paradigm

2014 IJRSLL – Volume 3 Issue 4


Mirzaee, Sepideh*
Department of English, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran (spdmirzaee@gmail.com)

Ghanizadeh, Afsaneh
Department of English, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran (ghanizadeafsane@yahoo.com)


Given that Emergentism is convincingly a novel challenge in the field of applied linguistics and is hotly under debate nowadays, its proponents especially Nick Ellis and his colleagues advocate it as a main alternative to the assumptions of Universal Grammar (UG) proposed by Noam Chomsky. As its main tenet, a plethora of contemporary emergentist research contend that language acquisition can be abridged to the use of simple learning strategies to pull out statistical regularities present in regular linguistic input which is exactly harmonious with what chaos, complexity scholars believe in considering the features of chaotic complex systems. In fact, emergentist scholars believe that knowledge of language is shaped in response to opportunities to interpret and/or form utterances in the course of communication. Therefore, Emergentism is an obvious challenge to UG as it disputes some of its major assumptions. In compliance with Emergentism and chaos complexity theory, the present paper tries to illustrate the implausibility of Chomskian account of language acquisition in terms of UG. What’s more, the present paper sheds light on those aspects of language in which the Chomskian nativist paradigm fails to account including the explanatory adequacy of those cases and the reasons why both Emergentism and Chaos complexity theory are in dominant positions.

Keywords: complexity theory; Chomskian nativism; Universal grammar; nativist emergentist; empiricist emergentist


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2013.520

*Corresponding Author