University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Universal Grammar: Wittgenstein versus Chomsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Wittgenstein on Education:
Subtitle of host publicationPedagogical Investigations
EditorsM.A. Peters, J. Stickney
Place of PublicationSingapore
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-3136-6
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-3134-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


The motivations for the claim that language is innate are, for many, quite straightforward. The innateness of language is seen as the only way to solve the so-called 'logical problem of language acquisition': the mismatch between linguistic input and linguistic output. In this paper, I begin by unravelling several strands of the nativist argument, offering replies as I go along. I then give an outline of Wittgenstein's view of language acquisition, showing how it renders otiose problems posed by nativists like Chomsky – not least by means of Wittgenstein's own brand of grammar which, unlike Chomsky's, does not reside in the brain, but in our practices.


Daniele Moyal-Sharrock, ‘Universal Grammar: Wittgenstein versus Chomsky’ in M. A. Peters and J. Stickney, eds., A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education: Pedagogical Investigations (Singapore: Springer Verlag, 2017), ISBN: 9789811031342

ID: 10117560