Feature Story Outline: Noam Chomsky’s Universal Grammar Theory: Real or Fake?

Title: Noam Chomsky ‘s Universal Grammar Theory: Real or Fake?

Who: Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, and political activist. He is credited with coming up with the theory of universal grammar.

When: Started advocating for this theory in the 1960s

What: Theory suggests that children are born knowing their natural language (language of their country) and language is not taught

Where: This is a theory he has based off of his knowledge within the field of linguistics and the observations he has made through various studies.

Why: This is a strong belief he has and promotes. However, there are critics who disagree.

How: The theory states that children are born with “mental grammar.” Meaning children are born with the general workings of language and know how to communicate without being taught by an adult.

My video will be of an interview with one of my English professors (probably Dr. Hickey) talking about language and whether language is something learned or known.

I will interview Dr. Hickey who teaches grammar and writing composition classes. She often talks about prescriptive grammar (grammar intuitively known) and the influence rudimentary education has on grammar skills. Perhaps she has ideas about this in relation to language. She is also a mother, so she can attest to whether she believes children are taught language or if they are born with prescriptive language (already known language).

I will also interview Dr. Dolgin. She is the head of the English Department. She focuses on language in literature. She is a mother as well. So like Hickey, she can give insight on the accuracy of this theory.