Children's Acquisition of Langauge - Theorists

Theorists and Their Theories of Children's Acquisition of Language.

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Language Acquisition Theories

Innateness - Chomsky:

  • Humans have an inbuilt capacity to acquire language
  • Language Acquisiton Device (LAD) is triggered when hearing speech

Behaviourist - Skinner:

  • Langauge is acquired through imitation and reinforcement
  • Positive Reinforcement - Rewarding / praising when something is right
  • Negative Reinforcement - Punishing when  something is wrong
  • Does not account for virtuous errors or langauge creativity
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Langauge Acquisition Theories (Continued)

Social Interactionist - Bruner:

  • Child langauge is developed through interaction with adults
  • Child Directed Speech (CDS) - where adults use language in a specific way to talk to children (Pee pee, potty etc.)
  • Believes that language acquisition depends on the input made by parents - concepts of conversation, range of pitches and tones, slower and clearer pronounciation etc.

Cognitive - Piaget:

  • Children acquire more complex language forms when intellectual develpment can cope
  • Must Understand a word before using it
  • Believes that there is no use teaching a child before they are ready
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Lenneburg's Critical Period

Furthered the Nativist theory by proposing that language has to be acquired within a critical period.

Lenneburg suggested the cut-off point age was around 12 / 13 - after that age learning slowed down or stopped.

Supported by case studies such as Genie, who was abused for the first 13 years of her life and never learnt fully to speak or write or read at the level expected at her age.

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LAD and LASS

Chomsky's Theory: LAD - Language Acquisition Device

Believes that children are born with the inherited ability to learn any human language

Jerome Bruner's Theory: LASS - Langauge Acquisition Support System

Parents use book and images to aid learning

1. Gaining attention

2. Query - ask to identify picture

3. Label - tell them what the object is

4. Feedback - respnd to utterances

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Stages of Speech Development

5 Major Stages -

Pre-Verbal Stage (0 - 4 months) - Babbling / sounds of discomfort such as crying, burping, cooing etc.

Holophrastic Stage (12 - 18 months) - One word utterances

Two-Word Stage (18 - 24 months) - Combination of two words

Telegraphic Stage (24 - 36 months) - Combination of three or more words

Post- Telegraphic Stage (36 months +) - More grammatically complex combinations

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Halliday's Seven Functions of Speech

Halliday's Seven Reasons for Speech

Instrumental - to fufil a need

Regulatory -  to influence the behaviour of others

Interactional - to develop and maintain social relationships

Personal - to convey ideas and opinions

Representation - to convey facts and information

Imaginative - to create an imaginary word and may be predominantely seen in play

Heuristic - to learn about the environment ('what's that')

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Halliday - Pragmatics

Pragmatic understand is cruicial to children's langauge acquisition:

  • Implicature - What we mean rather than what we say
  • Inference - Interpreting what others mean
  • Politeness - Using the right words and phrases to be polite
  • Coversational Managment and Turn taking - Learning the conventions of conversations

Children have to understand pragmatics of langauge if they are to use them correctly.

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Katherine Nelson - 1973

Found that there were 4 main catergories children first acquired when they learn to speak:

  • Naming Things
  • People
  • Actions
  • Events

60% of first words were nouns and the second largest group were verbs.

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Writing Skills

The skills needed before learning to properly write:

  • Motor Skills (how to hold a pen etc.)
  • How to form letters - upper and lower case
  • Know that text goes from left to right and top to bottom
  • Cursive Script - Know that letters join together to create phonemes
  • Recognise gramphemic combinations - suffixes
  • Lineation - Know to write in straight lines and space out words.
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Cathy Barclay - Acquisition of Writing

Stage 1 - Scribbling Stage

Stage 2 - Mock Handwriting Stage

Stage 3 - Mock Letters

Stage 4 - Coventions Letters

Stage 5 - Invented Spelling Stage

Stage 6 - Phonetic Spelling Stage

Stage 7 - Correct Spelling Stage

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B.M Kroll's Stages of Writing Development

Kroll believed there were four main stages of children's writing development

Stage 1 - Preparatory Stage (below the age of 6)

  • Master the basic motor skills needed to write (hold a pen etc.)
  • Learn the basic principles of spelling

Stage 2 - Consolidation Stage (up to 6)

  • Child writes how they speak
  • Use short declarative sentences
  • Mainly only use the conjunction 'and'
  • Incomplete sentences
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B.M Kroll's Stages of Writing Development

Stage 3 - Differentiation Stage (up to 9)

  • Child is aware of the difference between writing and speaking
  • Recognises different writing styles
  • Lots of mistakes
  • Use frameworks to structure work
  • Writes to reflect thoughts and feelings

Stage 4 - Integration Stage (12 +)

  • Child develops a personal writing style
  • Understands that you change style according to audience and purpose
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Chall's Stages of Reading Development

Stage 0 - Pre-reading (Psuedo) Up to 6 - 'Pretend' reading, some letter and word recognition, predict single words or next stage of story.

Stage 1 - Initial reading - 6 -7 years - Reading simple texts, understand 600 written words

Stage 2 - Confirmation and Fluency - 7 - 8 years - Read texts quicker, accurately and fluently, understand 3000 written words

Stage 3 - Reading for Learning - 9 - 14 years - reading for knowledge and information because of motivation

Stage 4 - Muliplicity and Complexity - 14 - 17 years - responding critically to what they read and analyse

Stage 5 - 18 years + - reading selectively and form opinions

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