Response: Defending Against the Indefensible Essay

Response: Defending Against the Indefensible

Within the Essay on “Defending Against the Indefensible” the author puts forth seven factors in relation to discourse and learning. However before he explains his seven factors, he defines what he means by the term, indefensible discourse.  For the author, discourse is in every subject and in all forms of education and the seven factors are ways of making discourse readily justifiable instead of defenseless.

The first is the process of definition.  The authority of the definition does not extend to those who explain the definition but to the purpose and value of the definition.  The second is the structure of questions.  One must structure questions correctly to ensure he receives the answer that he is looking for.  Third is that the most basic words are the hardest to define.  Fourth is that knowledge must be based on questioning.  Inquiry needs to be utilized more often and students need to be interactive in their education and not just preached at by the teacher. Fifth is the ability to ensure that words are used appropriately for the correct items.  Sixth is the use of style and tone.  Style and tone need to be based on the subject and structure and not just on a lecture.  The seventh and last is the idea that the media skews ideas and knowledge to their own agendas and definitions.

What does this mean to the world?  It means that one needs to be careful and to not believe everything he is told just because someone says it is right.  One must take the initiative for his own education and knowledge.  One must ask questions and look for answers.  One needs to live for himself and therefore needs to learn for himself.  Following the seven steps ensures that a person will learn the correct information in relation to his own beliefs and standards.

28 November 2016

Response: Chomsky’s Theory of Language Development

Noam Chomsky’s theory of language development is defined and compared to other linguistic development theories within this essay.  However, none of the comparisons completely tear down Chomsky’s theory.  In fact, most augment his theory.  The correlation between theories seems the most practical way in which to look at language development, since focusing on one theory leaves out so much important information and data.

For Chomsky grammatical rules are innate, genetically understood by the child.  He calls this the Universal Grammar (UG).  For his theory, the child learns both from genetically wired grammar rules and the rules of the native language.  He believed that the innate rules were rules that were general enough to be incorporated with the nuances of the native language.

Chomsky dismissed operant conditioning for language development, and Skinner agreed that the conditioning development would be to slow a process.  Chomsky does believe that once a child learns a specific, such as plurals, they generalize the rule and are therefore able to use it with all words.

Modeling is also considered separate from Chomsky’s theory.  However, it is Chomsky himself that pulls the theory into his own.  He believes that the child may learn a particular rule from adults but the integration of the rule is due to the universal grammar within the child.

Pidgin and Creole language seem to exemplify Chomsky’s theory.  The children of pidgin speakers normally within one or two generations create a recognizable and grammatically correct Creole language.  This has been done within both spoken and sign languages around the world.

The essay does not put other theories down so much as integrate them into Chomsky’s theory.  He shows how they work together, rather than separate.  Integration is the key to understanding and that is what Chomsky seems to be doing.