Language acquisition theories

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LANGUAGE ACQUISITION THEORIES
LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate.
The acquisition of language is doubtless the greatest intellectual feat any one of us is ever required to perform. (Leonard Bloomfield, Language1993)
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Theory
Central idea
Linguist
Behaviorism
Children immitate adults
Skinner
Cognitive
Lang. is just one aspect of a child’s overall intellectual development
Piaget
Innateness
Lang. is an innate capicity
Chomsky
Interactionism
Emphasis the interaction b/w child and their care giver
Bruner

1. BEHAVIOURISM- BF SKINNER (1904-1990)
B.F Skinner proposed this theory as an explanation for Language acquisition in human.
B. F SKINNER’S entire system is based on operant conditioning (learning's a function of change in overt behaviour)
A child acquires verbal behavior when relatively unpatterned vocalizations, selectively reinforced, gradually assume forms which produce appropriate consequences in a given verbal community” (Skinner 31)
Limitations in Behaviorism
Language is based on a set of structures or rules, which could not be worked out simply by imitating individual utterances
Children are often unable to repeat what an adults says
Noam Chomsky says on Behaviorism
Whatever 'behaviorism' may have served in the past, it has become nothing more than a set of arbitrary restrictions on 'legitimate' theory construction . . . the kind of intellectual shackles that physical scientists would surely not tolerate and that condemns any intellectual pursuit to insignificance." (Bjork, 1993, p.204)
2. Cognitive Theory- JEAN WILLIAM FRITZ PIAGET (1896-980)
The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget placed acquisition of language within the context of a child’s mental or cognitive development.
Language is just one aspect of a child’s overall intellectual development.

3. INNATENESS- Noam

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