It might be that I worked with handicapped kids once in my early 20s for about a year that makes me doubt the automatic-ness of it.
Being 1/2 deaf (more like 3/4) from birth and horrible vision that didn’t get glasses ’til I was 7 I think, my brain has to do a LOT of conscious processing.
I remember conscious processing even when I was 3.5/4 yrs old, making spider webs out of pieces of ham at the cerebral palsy center with my buddy Alan, who had one thumb for a hand and a claw-like thing for the other. I have a very strong memory that goes WAY back, with a few misty areas of course.
I didn’t speak a language anybody but my 1.5 yr older sister understood until I was 2.5 or 3 and *had to* say something to my mother, because my sister wasn’t there with me to translate.
My first intelligible sentence was “Where Lin-Lin?” It was a cold fall day and we were standing by the car as I was waiting to go in, looking around for her.
I also don’t know if her translations were correct either; she could’ve been faking it because she wanted a cookie and would say, “He wants a cookie”.
This doesn’t mean that Chomsky was wrong about the “Language Center” but afaik, CogSci hasn’t found it.
Chomsky had some great ideas besides this one, but he wasn’t a good cognitive psychologist. He was analogizing to the latest technology available at the time, which was the mainframe computes, and they believed very heavily in AI and modeled his ideas about humans off of the latest tech.
Things that are easy for people who follow normal development patterns weren’t all easy for me, and I didn’t have it as bad as some do.
If something was truly innate, primal, universal, instinct, it can’t have exceptions.