Key Theories (CLA)

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  • Key Theories (CLA)
    • Behaviourism (B.F. Skinner)
      • Language acquired through a mixture of copying and reinforcement, so-called nurture argument.
      • Children are conditioned (taught or trained to respond) and through operant conditioning as with Pavlov's Dogs eg. positive reinforcement, where behaviour is rewarded and therefore encouraged to be repeated.
    • Nativism (Noam Chomsky)
      • LAD (Language Acquisition Device) denotes the inherent capacity of humans for learning language  eg. 'bestest' wouldn't come about from imitation but rather from an innate knowledge of grammatical application.
      • Universal Grammar, proposes that there are properties and rules shared by all human languages that are 'hardwired' into the brain i.e. they exist innately rather than being taught. POVERTY OF THE STIMULUS.
      • Jean Berko-Gleason's (1958) Wug Tests demonstrated that young children extract rules and internalise them - they can apply these rules to language to which they haven't been exposed.
    • Social Interaction (Bruner)
      • Scaffolding: form of linguistic support whereby adults provide child with conversational material, providing child with key lexis and grammatical structures, support in continuing conversation.
      • Framing: controlling agenda of a conversation (direction and subject); or making utterances that encourage the child to fill in blanks
      • Recasting: rephrasing and extension of a child's utterance
      • LASS (Language Acquisition Support System): support of parents and carers in child's language development.
    • 'Seven Functions' (Michael Halliday)
      • HEURISTIC: Language used by child to find out more about their environment (eg. 'Where the boat go?')
      • IMAGINATIVE: Language creating an imaginary world; constructive narratives for creative and/or comedic effect
      • REGULATORY: Language used to instruct (eg. 'Come here')
      • INTERACTIONAL: Language use serving the purpose of relationship-forming and making contact with others (eg. 'Nana me love you')
      • REPRESENTATIONAL: Language employed to convey information and fact (eg. 'that car red')
      • INSTRUMENTAL: Child's language expresses needs (eg. 'Want milk')
      • PERSONAL: Language to express opinions, feelings and identity (eg. 'I is a brave girl')
    • Child-directed speech (CDS), (Erik Thiessen)
      • Speech patterns used by parents and carers when communicating with young children
      • CDS in action
        • EMPHASIS: accentuation of new information, exaggerated intonation,repetition of words and clauses
        • PROSODICS: higher pitch, pauses between words and longer intervals between phrases and sentences
        • SIMPLIFICATION: substitution of difficult sounds for easier ones, proper nouns over pronouns, short sentences,diminuitives, concrete language, simple lexis
        • AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: plural personal pronouns, tag questions, frequent questions, vocative voice
    • Construction Model (Michael Tomasello)
      • Children acquire language blocks rather than words (eg. 'lemme do it')
      • 'Segmenting communicative intentions': language more about functioning in social world than forming abstract systems of grammar.
    • Cognitive Theory (Piaget)
      • In order to understand language, must be able to understand relevant concept
      • Object Permanence:the ability to recognise that an object still exists even when the baby cannot actually see it, thus requiring capacity to form a mental representation of object, Ball and Blanket Study (1963) suggests this happens at 8 months
      • Lev Vygotsky, children's language and understanding closely linked, 'zone of proximal development'(ZPD), distance between child's ability and the help they need to achieve something

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