Nativistic explanations, which posit innate rather than environmental influences on development, characterize many theories of language acquisition. Marilyn H. Edmonds offers some reasons for this bias and discusses the deficiencies of nativism as an explanatory principle. She reviews and critiques existing theories of syntax and highlights the trend toward a semantic description of linguistic development. Combining this semantic emphasis with a Piagetian framework, Edmonds argues that a satisfactory account of language acquisition will not emerge until this process is viewed within a larger developmental perspective.

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