Theories, Theorists and Tests


A Levels English Language (Child Language Acquisition) Flashcards on Theories, Theorists and Tests, created by sarahsing on 18/01/2015.
Flashcards by sarahsing, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by sarahsing almost 9 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
Nativists Humans have an inbuilt capacity to acquire language. Chomsky, Lenneburg
Behaviourists Language is acquired through imitation and reinforcement. Skinner
Social Interactionists Child Language develops through interaction with carers. Bruner, Vygotsky
Cognitive Theorists Language Acquisition is part of a wider development of understanding. Vygotsky, Piaget
Arguments for the Nativist theory Children experience the same stages of development at the same pace Make overgeneralisations Make their own rules for language use Produce correct language even after hearing incorrect adult language. Wug test - children apply grammatical rules.
The Wug Test (1950s) Berko. 75% of 4-5 year olds added 's to make it plural, proving that children apply grammatical rules.
Arguments against the Nativist theory Children learn how to use language correctly Children need input to improve their pragmatic understanding Children who have been deprived of social contact can't communicate as well.
Genie Deprived of social contact for 13 years. Unable to learn speech beyond a basic level. Supports critical period hypothesis. Challenges Chomsky's innate capacity.
Chomsky Nativism Language Acquisition Device Innate Capacity to learn language Universal Grammar
Lenneburg Nativism 'critical period' of 5 years before children lose the ability to have full communicative competence.
Arguments for the Behaviourist Theory Children imitate accent and dialect. Children learn politeness and pragmatic aspects of language. Children repeat language they have heard around them.
Arguments against the Behaviourist Theory Children: can form sentences they haven't heard before. Children aren't negatively reinforced for language use. aren't always corrected for incorrect grammar. Fis phenomenon - children hear and understand pronunciation but can't physically say it. Research conducted on rats and pigeons.
The 'fis' Phenomenon (1960s) Berko and Brown. Shows how a child knows and understands the correct pronunciation of a word but cannot physically say it themselves.
Skinner Behaviourist Children imitate adults. Positive and Negative reinforcement conditions children into using the correct language.
Arguments for social interactionist theory Routines teach children about spoken discourse structure such as turn-taking. Children do learn politeness and verbally acceptable behaviour. Pretend play suggests that more interaction with carers can affect vocabulary. Halliday's research supports social interaction. Vincent.
Vincent Hearing child born to deaf parents. Watched TV but ignored the sounds. Learned to speak at school where people talked to him.
Arguments against social interactionist theories Children from countries that do not promote interaction with children still become fluent.
Bruner Social Interactionist. Language Acquisition Support System. Ritualised activities encourage language development. Scaffolding
Arguments for cognitive theories Children can't grasp aspects of language until they are ready. Produce utterances which increase with complexity as they master a skill. Belugi's pronoun and question formation.
Argument against cognitive theories children with learning difficulties can use language beyond their understanding. children acquire language without understanding it in the early stages of development. fis phenomenon - physical inability impacts language.
Piaget Cognitive. Children cannot be taught the language until they understand the word's meaning. Object Permanence Egocentric speech
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