An analysis of theories of language development

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An analysis of theories of language development

Edit Linguistic theories hold that children learn through their natural ability to organize the laws of language, but cannot fully utilize this talent without the presence of other humans.

This does not mean, however, that the child requires formal teaching of any sort. Chomsky claims that children are born with a hard-wired language acquisition device LAD in their brains [1]. They are born with the major principles of language in place, but with many parameters to set such as whether sentences in the language s they are to acquire must have explicit subjects.

According to Chomsky, when the young child is exposed to a language, the LAD makes it possible for them to set the parameters and deduce the grammatical principles, because the principles are innate.

An analysis of theories of language development

Mark Baker, [2] presents arguments that not only are there certain " parameters " as Chomsky called them that are innate switches in the LAD, but linguists are very close to the point where these parameters could be put together in a "periodic table of languages" as determined by their parameter features.

In addition, there are significant studies in biogenetics that strongly suggest that the genetic factors that combine to build the brain contain redundant systems for recognizing patterns of both sight and sound. This inability follows from the fact that the input available to the child - the speech of the community of adults around her - is insufficient, not providing the evidence required to determine what grammar the child should settle on.

This is the poverty of the stimulus argument [5]. This argument has been indicated to be in line with the Universal Grammar UGand has been proved by many researchers in first language acquisition as well as leading second language acquisition researchers such as Lydia White McGill and Suzanne Flyne MIT.

In contrast, psychologist Catherine Snow at Harvard argues that children do not have to deduce the principles of language from impoverished and ungrammatical scraps of talk, but are presented with the evidence they need through parent-child interaction.

Some studies of child directed speech or CDS suggest that speech to young children is usually slow, clear, grammatical, and very repetitious, rather like traditional language lessons. Chomsky first articulated the argument from the poverty of stimulus in a critical review of a book by the behaviourist psychologist B.

Skinner [6] Non-nativist theories Edit Non-nativist theories include the Competition model and Social interactionism. However, some researchers claim that the empirical data on which theories of social interactionism are based have often been over-representative of middle class American and European parent-child interactions.

Many researchers now take this into account in their analyses. Furthermore, as any parent knows, children often pay scarce attention to what they are told to say, instead sticking to their own ungrammatical preferences. The argument from the poverty of stimulus is that there are principles of grammar that cannot be learned on the basis of positive input alone, however complete and grammatical that evidence is.

Universal Grammar

However, an argument against Chomskian views of language acquisition lies in Chomskian theory itself. The theory has several hypothetical constructs, such as movement, empty categories, complex underlying structures, and strict binary branching, that cannot possibly be acquired from any amount of input.

Since the theory is, in essence, unlearnably complex, then it must be innate. A different theory of language, however, may yield different conclusions. Examples of alternative theories that do not utilize movement and empty categories are Head-driven phrase structure grammarLexical functional grammarand several varieties of Construction Grammar.

While all theories of language acquisition posit some degree of innateness, a less convoluted theory might involve less innate structure and more learning. Under such a theory of grammar, the input, combined with both general and language-specific learning capacities, might be sufficient for acquisition.

Critical Period hypothesis Edit Linguist Eric Lenneberg stated that the crucial period of language acquisition ends around the age of 12 years. He claimed that if no language is learned before then, it could never be learned in a normal and fully functional sense.

This was called the " Critical period Hypothesis. A thirteen-year-old victim of lifelong child abuseGenie was discovered in her home on November 4th,strapped to a potty chair and wearing diapers.

She appeared to be entirely without language. Her father had judged her retarded at birth and had chosen to isolate her, and so she had remained until her discovery. It was an ideal albeit horrifying opportunity to test the theory that a nurturing environment could somehow make up for a total lack of language past the age of She was unable to acquire language completely, although the degree to which she acquired language is disputed.

DeKeyser argues that although it is true that there is a critical period, this does not mean that adults cannot learn a second language perfectly, at least on the syntactic level. DeKeyser talks about the role of language aptitude as opposed to the critical period. Until approximatelyNicaragua had neither education nor a formalized sign language for the deaf.Learn about the nativist, learning, and interactionist theories of human language development.

By Carole Yue. Two theories of primary language acquisition emerged from s psychological research: B.F. Skinner’s behaviorist theory and Noam Chomsky’s biological theory of language development. Primary language acquisition addresses specifically the way in which an infant’s native language is beginning to form, starting at birth.

A Brief Overview of Language Development Theories The most prominent figure in language development is Noam Chomsky, who’s been studying this ever since his days at MIT.

Then there are those who have offered their take on language development from a psychological perspective. Jean Piaget, a pioneering Swiss psychologist, observed three 6-year-olds in at the Institute Rousseau.

The children were in an open-classroom setting, and adults transcribed their speech, then listed it in numbered sentences for leslutinsduphoenix.comd: Jun 17, - Language Development in Exceptional Circumstances: Auditory Impairment The study of child language acquisition became of interest to psycholinguists in the ’s after Chomsky’s suggestion that the study of the development of language would provide evidence for theories of language.

BEHAVIORIST THEORY ON LANGUAGE LEARNING AND ACQUISITION Introduction There are some basic theories advanced to describe how language is acquired, learnt and taught. The behaviorist theory, Mentalist theory (Innatism), Rationalist theory (otherwise called Cognitive theory), and Interactionism are.

SparkNotes: Development: Theories of Development