Language acquisition theorists.

Theorists of child language acquisition. 

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Noam Chomsky. The innateness theory.

The theory proposal:

  • That all languages have 'universal grammar'.
  • Children have an inbuilt Language Acquisition Device enabling them to extract rules from language by hearing them. 
  • Children are preprogrammed with the ability to use the rules of grammar, it is just up to their level of exposure they have to activate their L.A.D.
  • All children of all backgrounds tend to go through the same stage at the same time proving that it is innate. 
  • Chomsky argues that the adaption of language can not be a mimick of their parents and carers because iften they do not produce correct grammar.
  • Children produce novel utterances, showing their ability to produce many more utterances than what they hear around them. 
  • These novel utterances are often virtuous errors which are logical mistakes children adopt through their learning stages. For example, 'i runned', cannot have been adopted from mimicking their parents. ...
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Jerome Bruner. Social interactionist theory.

Theory Proposal:

  • input to help children acquire langauge is vital.
  • interacting with children helps then to grasp the meaning of words and the general rules of communication. 
  • The system of Bruner is called L.A.S.S. Language Aquisition Support System. 
  • According to this theory, parents and caregivers exchange utterances and communication with their children before language has started to develop into meaningful words. 
  • This theory includes the idea of C.D.S (Child Directed Speech) branching out to all of the significant features. such as the following:
  • Enhanced intonations drawing attention to morphemes and leximes.
  • simplified vocabulary .
  • repeating grammatical frames.
  • Simplified grammar with shorter utterances.
  • tag questions to initiate turn taking. 
  • actions and gestures to accompany speech.
  • enhanced lip and mouth movement...
  • Parents are often seen expanding their child's utterances rather than correcting. ...
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B.F. Skinner. Behaviorist Theory.

Theory Proposal: 

  • Children start on a blank slate, knowing nothing.
  • Children imitate adult language whilst gaining praise and support for getting it right. Known as positive re-inforcement
  • And for getting it wrong, children are told off with lack of praise. known as negative re-inforcement. 
  • Skinner's theory is thought to be a process of operant conditioning which sees all human behaviour as a process of learning. Theorefore their development of language can be viewed as an apsect of wider general theory of learning. 
  • Skinner tested his theories on rats and pigeons rather than children; watching how they responded to reinforcement for tasks they completed or failed. 
  • it is clear that some children copy their parents as this is apparent in accents and particular dialects leanrt from their parents of carers. Children can also pick up new names for objects and even swear words. 
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