Multilingualism and Chomsky's Generative Grammar

Kupisch, T., Pereira Soares, S. M., Puig-Mayenco, E., & Rothman, J. (2021). Multilingualism and Chomsky's Generative Grammar. In N. Allott (Ed.), A companion to Chomsky (pp. 232-242). doi:10.1002/9781119598732.ch15.
Like Einstein's general theory of relativity is concerned with explaining the basics of an observable experience – i.e., gravity – most people take for granted that Chomsky's theory of generative grammar (GG) is concerned with the basic nature of language. This chapter highlights a mere subset of central constructs in GG, showing how they have featured prominently and thus shaped formal linguistic studies in multilingualism. Because multilingualism includes a wide range of nonmonolingual populations, the constructs are divided across child bilingualism and adult third language for greater coverage. In the case of the former, the chapter examines how poverty of the stimulus has been investigated. Using the nascent field of L3/Ln acquisition as the backdrop, it discusses how the GG constructs of I-language versus E-language sit at the core of debates regarding the very notion of what linguistic transfer and mental representations should be taken to be.
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