Child Language Acquisition Theories

Explanation of 4 theories:

  • Behaviourist
  • Social Interactionalist
  • Nativist
  • Cognitive
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  • Created by: Liz
  • Created on: 25-05-10 12:52

The Behaviourist Theory

BEHAVIOURIST

CREATED BY B.F. SKINNER

Believes a newborn child is a 'blankslate' - acquires language through its environment.

TWO MAIN WAYS:

  • IMITATION
  • POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT i.e. praise/correction

THEORY DOESN'T ACCOUNT FOR:

  • SPEED CHILDREN LEARN LANGUAGE
  • LINGUISTIC CREATIVITY
  • VIRTUOS ERRORS
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EXAMPLES OF BEHAVIOURIST

Example 1

Father: That food's disgusting!

Child: Dat's 'gusting.

Example 2

Mother: No, that's a lion.

Child: Lion?

Example 3

Child: What Stan doing?

Father: He's playing on the computer.

Child: On the 'puter.

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The Social Interactionist Theory

SOCIAL INTERACTIONIST

CREATED BY JEROME BRUNER

Further develops the Behaviourist approach but focuses on the importance of interaction with the child. Called his system LASS (Language Acquisition Support System). Believes CHILD DIRECTED SPEECH (CDS) is vital in developing language.

CDS includes:

  • Exaggerated intonation
  • Tag questions
  • Obvious lip movement
  • NVC
  • Simplified or repeated grammar/grammatical structures

THEORY DOESN'T ACCOUNT FOR:

  • LINGUISTIC CREATIVITY
  • VIRTUOUS ERRORS
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EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL INTERACTIONIST

Example 1

Parent simplifies vocab - "dog" in stead of "labrador".

Example 2

Simplified and repreated grammar - "wee wee"

Example 3

Use of tag question - "That's yours, isn't it?"

Example 4

Repeated sentence structure - "That animal lives in a..."

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The Nativist Theory

NATIVIST

CREATED BY NOAM CHOMSKY AND ERIC LENNEBERG

Believes language is INNATE and grammatical rules are just in need of refining.

System caled LAD (Language Acquisiton Device). Exposure to the environment necessary to activate it.

THEORY DOESN'T ACCOUNT FOR:

  • LANGUAGE AS A SOCIAL PHENOMENON
  • PRAGMATIC DEVELOPMENT
  • 'FERAL' CHILDREN WHO NEVER DEVELOP LANGUAGE
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EXAMPLES OF NATIVIST

Example 1

Creation of new words:

"Leg-pits", "Water-cake", "Helicuck".

Example 2

Over generalisation of grammatical rules:

"felled" - over generalisation of past tense rule

"mens" - over generalisation of the rule of plurals

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The Cognitive Theory

COGNITIVE THEORY

CREATED BY JEAN PIAGET AND LEV VYGOTSKY

Language developed as a result of the link between LANGUAGE and THOUGHT.

Interaction with the environment helps to develop MENTAL CATEGORIES and PATTERNS OF THOUGHT.

A child's understanding of OBJECT PERMANENCE and use of SERIALISATION supports this theory.

THEORY DOESN'T ACCOUNT FOR:

  • HOW CHILDREN WITH COGNITIVE PROBLEMS DEVELOP LANGUAGE.
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EXAMPLES OF COGNITIVE

Example 1

"nana not there...where nana?"

"dolly gone...dolly upstairs?" - development of the understanding of object permanence.

Example 2

Understanding of serialisation:

"a, b, c, d, e, f, g..."

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6..."

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday..."

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Comments

alex heron

this is ******* genius!

Susmi P

Good examples!

Jasmine

THANK YOU.

Sarah Beniston

good resource, thanks :*

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