Playing the Language Game (Part 2)
How do children acquire language?
All children are already equipped with the ability to learn language
Noam Chomsky raised the issue about language learning.
He argued that many of the processes that you use to acquire language you are born with, and they are in your genetic make-up.
Just like learning to walk is encoded in your DNA
He believes it is a mistake to have language associated with learning because it is built in. Chomsky shows there is much more to it than just experience.
Imitation theory vs. Innateness theory
Common sense theory is that children just imitate what they hear but that is not possible since children create new sentences all the time.
If it is not by imitation then how do we learn?
Some mothers correct their children, some mothers don’t, but no matter how much you correct them it may not make a difference (ex. Jamamas)
Children acquire speech by playing the language game…
What do you think cookie monster eats? - Sammy 3 ½ years old
He was able to create a complex sentence without errors.
Experiments show they are able to create these sentences at a time when they cannot even tie their shoes.
Imitation theory basically says that children learn grammar by memorizing the words and sentences of their language. English children learn English because they are getting English input, but memorizing alone is not adequate. Children make consistent errors that cannot be attributed to mispronunciation and which still are not ever heard in the adult grammar. Children make errors like saying "goed" instead of "went" or "drawed" instead of "drew". These errors indicate that the child cannot simply be memorizing all of the words in her or his language.
The innateness theory states that children are born with an innate capacity for learning human language. Humans are destined to speak. Children discover the grammar of their language based on their own inborn... [continues]
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