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Noam Chomsky on Native Language


Noam Chomsky Quote

Recently, we celebrated International Mother Language Day, dedicated to promoting the rich linguistic tapestry that humanity shares, along with the diverse cultures and traditions it embodies. As linguist Noam Chomsky famously proposed, language stands as a singular and almost miraculous creation of humanity, distinct from any other cognitive ability. The acquisition of our native tongue is akin to experiencing a special kind of ‘magic’, adult language learners can never relive it, but they can catch a glimpse of it, which is a good reason in itself to learn a new language. 


Chomsky likened language acquisition to another organ of the body, something inherent in all of us from birth. It enables us to be a part of the living, breathing sphere of language. While we cannot recreate the magic of native language acquisition, we should not abandon the idea that participating in the linguistic realm is an incredible experience. While it might be tempting to view language learning as merely memorizing lists of charts and rules, doing so misses the point. In language, the ultimate goal is communication. If the other person understands you, then you are correct. 


Rules are meant to be ‘broken’, or rather, adapted. As language is a living thing, made by us and belonging to us, we give it life every day when we use it, whether in speech, song, or daydreams. We determine what is correct; no chart or figure from an academy can do what we do. We hope you appreciate the magic of your native language and invite you to spread more magic in the world by learning to speak a new one!

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