Empirical Assessment of Argument for Poverty of Stimulus by Geoffrey Pullum and Barbara Scholz. a Review.
Submitted By Gladstone
In ‘empirical assessment of stimulus poverty argument’, Geoffrey Pullum and Barbara Scholz put to critical assessments some arguments that support the famous ‘argument for the poverty of stimulus’ in child language acquisition. This review will examine the arguments made by Pullum and Scholz and evaluate their claims, looking at the strengths and weaknesses.
Pullum & Scholz, while not completely condemning nativism argued that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that children know things about language to which they have received no evidence. They asserted that linguistic nativists have not sufficiently provided enough empirical evidence to support claims that they make.
The authors firstly laid out the argument that is made by the proponents of linguistic nativism and indicate how widely accepted the argument for the poverty of stimulus is, as well as portions of the argument held by those who believe in data driven learning. After this, they laid down a methodology that will help provide empirical support for the argument for poverty of stimulus. They then went ahead to test claims of inaccessibility made by nativists.
They considered four major arguments which they call ‘substantial collection of plausible cases’ (23) from which they showed whether children are actually exposed to data or not during their language acquisition years. After careful consideration of facts they concluded that linguistic nativists do not have enough empirical evidence to prove ‘the poverty of stimulus argument that has been put up.
Pullum and Scholz argued that there is no empirical evidence proving the arguments for poverty of stimulus. They did this by casting doubt on evidences provided by linguistic nativists.
On the case of ‘plurals in noun-noun compounds’ by Gordon 1986, they first of all questioned the...