Eric Lenneberg:

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(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Eric Lenneberg believes that language should be studied as an aspect of man's biological nature, in the same manner as anatomy. Chomsky's universal grammar should be viewed as an underlying biological framework for the growth of language. Genetic predisposition, growth and development apply to language faculties just like to any other organ of the body. Behavior in general is an integral part of an organism's constitution.
Language and speech are represented in the cortex and also seem to be hosted in subcortical and midbrain structures. The large size of the human brain is probably a direct consequence of language functions. Children start learning language when structural changes in the brain make it possible.
Animals organize the sensory world through a process of categorization. They exhibit propensities for responding to categories of stimuli. In humans this process of categorization becomes "naming", the ability to assign a name to a category. Even in humans the process of categorization is still a process whose function is to enable similar response to different stimuli. The meaning-bearing elements of language do not stand for specific objects, but for the act of categorization. The basic cognitive mechanisms of semantics are processes of categorization.

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