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Language Acquisition
Theorists…read more

Slide 2

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Cognitive - Piaget
- Children understand the world more when
they mature; i.e. they cannot understand
certain tasks until they are old enough…read more

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Piaget's Stages of Cognitive
Sensori-motor (birth-2yrs)
-Differentiate self and objects
-Learns that they are the agent of an action
-Learns things still exist after they are not there (Bishop Berkley)
Pre-operational (2-7yrs)
-Learns to use language and represent objects with images and words
-Thinks egocentrically
-Classifies objects by a single feature
Concrete-operational (7-11yrs)
-Can think logically about objects
-Classifies objects according to several features and can order them in series such as
Formal operational (11yrs+)
-Can think about abstract propositions and can test hypotheses
-Becomes concerned with hypothetical, the future and ideological problems…read more

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Behaviourist - Skinner
- Children learn through imitation
- There are underlying theorectical assumptions
with this theory:
-Language learning is a habit formation resembling the formation of other habits. In other words, language is learned in
the way in which other habits are learned.
-Language learning is nothing more than the acquisition of new behaviour or knowledge. It takes place when experience
or practice causes a change in a person's knowledge or behaviour.
-Language learning is an external event, because it involves an observable change in behaviour brought about by the
stimuli coming from the environment. It does not involve any unobservable change in mental knowledge. All behaviours
can be explained without the need to consider internal mental states or consciousness.
-Only human beings have the capacity for language learning. They acquire a language as discrete units of habits,
independently trained, not as an integrated system.…read more

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Conditioning - Skinner
Skinner developed a more comprehensive view of
conditioning, based on the premise that effective language
behaviour consists of producing responses (BEHAVIOURS) to
correct stimuli (SITUATION). When a response if followed by a
reinforcer (REWARD) then it is conditioned to occur again.
Reinforcement: encouraging activity that increases the
frequency of a response it follows.
Positive reinforcement: encouragement of a certain response
by a pleasant stimulus. Increases probability of repetition.
Negative reinforcement: discouragement of an undesired
response by an unpleasant stimulus. Reduces probability of
Punishment: Used to erase undesirable behaviours by
presenting a distressing stimulus
Positive punishment: an undesirable stimulus is received after a
behaviour occurs, e.g. detentions…read more

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Nativist - Chomsky
- Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
- Rules learnt through trial and error
- Theory supports the fact that children develop
at a similar pace despite race/culture etc
defies Skinners model
- Children create new forms of a language
which they would not have previously heard.…read more

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