Chomsky's contribution in linguistics | Competence and performance | Try.Fulfill

Who is Chomsky? Evaluate his contribution to linguistics | How has Chomsky distinguished between competence and performance? Competence and performance | Chomsky's contribution in linguistics, Chomsky's contribution to linguistics, difference between competence and performance.

difference between competence and performance, difference of comperence and performance
Chomsky's contribution in linguistics, difference between competence and performance.

Long Introduction:

Noam Chomsky is a modern linguist born in 1928. He is entitled with several titles as philosopher, cognitive scientist. Chomsky contributed on history also. He improved cognitive science which is the study of behavior and intelligence. Noam Chomsky is considered as the father of modern linguistics. His contribution influenced Mathematics, physics as well as computer science. Chomsky has written more than 100 books. A movie was premiered about Chomsky named “Manufacturing Consent” where Chomsky’s thought is presented.

Chomsky’s contribution in linguistics is vast. He coined the term TG grammar or Transformational Generative grammar. TG grammar transforms ‘surface structure’ into ‘deep structure’.

E.g. Surface structure – He drives the car.

Deep structure – The car is driven by him.


Chomsky’s another contribution is the Innate theory/ Innatist theory/ Nativist theory / Mentalist theory / Innatism. In this theory, he claims that human beings have an innate capacity in his brain to acquire a language. Human learns language by means of this capacity. He also reveals that there is a device in brain consisting common grammatical rules. By means of LAD or Language Acquisition Device, children acquire their language innately from their environment.

Chomsky’s contribution in linguistics surpasses over another phenomenon, competence and performance.

Short Answer:


Avram Noam Chomsky, an American linguist, philosopher, logician, political critic and human rights activist. He is considered as the father of modern linguistics, especially Transformational Generative Crammer.

Chomsky's concept of competence and performance is somewhat similar to Saussure's concept of 'langue' and 'parole'. According to Chomsky, competence is the native speaker's knowledge of his language, the system of rules he has mastered and understand a vast number of new sentences.

Performance is the study of actual sentences themselves, study of the actual use of the language in real life situation. So, the speaker's knowledge of the structure of language is linguistic competence and the way  in which he uses it, is linguistic performance.

Competence is an underlying mental system. It underlies linguistic ability to understand language, ignoring mistakes, understanding new sentences, producing new sentences.
Competence is a set of principles which a speaker masters, performance is what a speaker does. The former (competence) is a kind of code, the latter (Performance) is an act of encoding or decoding.

Obviously one can find out about competence only by studying performance. The abstract internal grammar which enables a speaker to utter and understand an infinite number of utterances is a speakers competence.

The competence is free from the interference of memory span, characteristic errors, lapses of attention etc. The speaker has represented in his brain a grammar that gives an ideal account of the structure of the sentences of his language. He acts upon his underlying linguistic competence to produce actual performance.

Competence is linguistic ability - the ability to produce and understand many novel sentences. It refers to the native speaker's innate creativity and productivity in the normal use of language.

The distinction has caused a lot of arguments in current day linguistics. Some socio-linguists regard it as an unreal distinction. This distinction ignores the importance of studying language in its setting. They say that many of today's grammars are based on unjustified assumptions concerning speaker's competence rather than his performance.

Although Chomsky's competence and performance relates with Saussure's langue and parole, the main difference is that Saussure displayed the sociological implication of langue while Chomsky stresses the psychological implications of competence. This distinctions are also can be exemplified by code and message. A code is the prearranged signaling system. A message is an actual message sent through that system.

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