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The Nature of Language Acquisition

{Presentation} English Language Unit 1, Area of Study 2

My Huyen Nguyen

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of The Nature of Language Acquisition

Turning eyes and taking turns Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Critical Period The critical period or age for children to acquire their first language is approximately from birth until 6 years of age Telegraphic Stage (1.5-2.5 years) This stage is when children begin constructing and using larger sentences, phrases and function words.
Their sentences may not sound correct as it is missing grammatical words, their sentence structure is correct in that it follows the subject+verb+object order.
In this stage children also acquire their first morphemes; present progressive: -ing and plural –s. Children will also begin to use the prepositions of in and on. the Stages
Language Acquisition Pre-verbal stage (birth – 11 months) Soundless communication Holophastic stage (11-18 months) the Theories
Language Acquisition the Acquisition
Language in action -transcript Language Acquisition is the process involved in learning to use and understand a language and its subsystems.
Acquiring a language involves understanding both verbal and non-verbal communication. This includes being able to process and react to it, as well as understanding the social dynamics that govern language use. The Behavourial theory by B.F. Skinner ...accentuates that children learn to speak by imitating the language they hear around them and by positive reinforcement and correction by their caretaker. This theory suggests that human language learning is similar to that of an animal’s and implies that learning language is not an innate ability to human -Shows that children are able to behave and learn with the help of mechanical drill and exercises -fails to give explanation to how the human language develops in children Noam Chomsky’s nativist theory ...indicates that children are born with a predetermined innate ability to develop and acquire language. Chomsky’s theory proposes that there is a Language Acquisition device (LAD) built into our brains that works out what is acceptable and what is not acceptable language use using innate programmed patterns. He also suggests that there is a set of innate principles and adjustable parameter called Universal Grammar (UG) that is common to all human language. Child: Mum! Look big kitty! (Points at a tiger)
Mum: No dear that is a tiger.
Child: Oh! Tie...gar
Child: (points at Lion) Mummy! That tiger?
Mum: No dear that is a Lion. Able to prove why children are able to construct and use language they have not heard before Disproven by the fact that there are children whom do not speak until the age of 3 or 4 where as others at the age of 1 or 2 The cognitive theory by Jean Piaget children must understand concept in order to understand language – for example they must first understand the concept of time before that can understand past tense Jerome Bruner’s interactionist theory Is evident in that the caretaker/s will use smaller language with the child, this often referred to as “mothereses” or “parentese” Body language and gestures Talking sounds/babbling Multiword stage (2.5 years onwards) -Children strengthen their responses by the repetitions, corrections, and other reactions adults provide -Children learn to speak by imitating the utterances heard around them Pros Cons -does not explain how children are able to acquire proper grammar -Children aren't able to imitate adult grammatical constructions exactly -Does not show adequate generalisation in human behaviour -The process of 'analogy' - a reasoning process as children start working out for themselves -The way children handle irregular grammatical patterns; While encountering irregular item, there is a stage where children replace forms based on regular patterns of language Pros Cons LAD provides children with a knowledge of linguistic universals such as the existence of word order and word class This theory states that children around the world seem to develop at a similar pace, irrespective of race/culture/mother tongue The role of adult speech cannot be ruled out in providing a means of enabling children to work out the regularities of language for themselves LAD provides children with only general procedures for discovering language to be learned There are principles of grammar that cannot be learned on the basis of positive input alone The concept of the LAD is unsupported by the evolutionary anthropology, which shows a gradual adaption of the human body to the use of language The UG claims that all human being inherit a universal set of principles and parameters that control the shape language can take Linguistically, the UG approach's primary concern is only syntax; semantics, pragmatics and discourse are completely ignored ...states that children acquire language within the context of their intellectual development. That is a child’s learning is the result of their internal mental activity for language learning, which is a general human learning and involves the acquisition of complex cognitive skill. This says that in order for children to use a word they must first understand the word. Pros Cons It is viewed within the context of a child's intellectual development Linguistic structures will emerge only if there is an already established cognitive foundation It is highly difficult to show precise correlations between specific cognitive behaviors and linguistic features at the very early stage of language acquisition as the children become linguistically and cognitively more advanced over time. Pros Cons also known as the input theory, emphasises that it is important to focus on the person who helps teach the child to speak. It is difficult to show correlations between the features of motherese and the subsequent emergence of their features in child speech To give the child maximum opportunity to interact and learn an adult’s language will adapt to do so The child may receive linguistic stimulation from people other than their caretaker This theory assumes that many factors – such as social and linguistic environments, stage of maturation and level of cognitive development – all affect a child’s development of language skills and that these factors interact with each other, not only in language acquisition, but in turn that language interacts with the development of social and cognitive skills Children appear to recognise the difference between noise and speech when the respond to their mother’s voice Eye gaze norm – the level of eye contact

The concept of turn taking is learned through role playing. Hand signalsPulling, pointing, screaming, etc… From 5 – 7 monthsChildren experiment with pronunciation of soundsThey begin to discover intonation patterns. This stage is also known as the one word stage, where children will generally acquire their first words.

At this stage, children will discover that sound relates to meaning and learning the words most important to them.

Although at this stage children will begin to use proper words but it is still unclear that they have attached meaning to these words.

By the end of this stage children would have acquired 50 words in their vocabulary with meaning and multiple functions attached, although they will tend to generalise things and give one word many meanings. also referred to as the two word stage, is when children will have a word spurt where they get into a naming explosion.
At this stage children will be able to make location and action phrases consisting of nouns and verbs only.
Their ordering of words is not random and is correct. One group, Nurture asserts that language is a social phenomenon similar to that of learning culture; it is the result of learning and nurturing The other school of thought, Nature, claims that the ability to understand the rules of grammar upon which we build a language is something that we are born with or it in our nature Nature vs Nurture There are two main schools of thought concerning how children acquire language. Theses two ideas form the basis of the great debate between whose who believe in the 'nurture theory' and those who support the 'nature theory' Language Acquisition This example transcript here is an example of a child towards the end of the telegraphic stage, moving onto the multiword stage. They tend to generalize things because their limited vocabulary, and will still have difficulty in differentiating similar object and things.
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