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Language Acquisition SLP329

Properties of all languages (3) Social tool Rule-governed Generative
Generative language It as a system which makes infinite use of finite means.
Diversity dilema The mystery of language acquisition: How do the world's children - who are exposed to so many, diverse languages and have such different cultural and economic experiences - manage to learn their native languages so effortlessly and so uniformly?
Nativist position (nature/nurture) Primacy of nature (biological hard-wiring): Children are born with special mechanisms in the brain that unfold almost spontaneously at fixed developmental periods and enable processing and production of language.
Interactionalist position (nature/nurture) Combination: Children are born with strong (but more general) pattern detection and reasoning abilities that allow them to make good use of the language input they hear.
Behaviorist position (nature/nurture) Primacy of nurture (experiential input): Children learn language almost exclusively through learning (imitation, reinforcement, correction).
Noam Chomsky Nativist/generative approach. Syntax is key - a universal grammar exists within the LAD at birth.
Michael Tomasello Interactionalist/constructionist approach.
B.F. Skinner Behaviorist/learning approach. Wrote "Verbal Behavior"
What do nativists believe? Syntax is key. LAD - universal set of syntactic rules. Minimal examples necessary to activate lang learning. Acquisition is passive, biologically-driven
What do interactionalists believe? No language universals and no LAD. Just complex, rapidly developing social brain evolved for interaction with its environment. Children are active participants in the communication "dance" with caregivers. Children learn by trial and error.
Critical period hypothesis. The ideal time window to acquire language in a linguistically rich environment, after which further language acquisition becomes increasingly more difficult. Without language exposure between birth & puberty it won’t develop normally, if at all.
Created by: ashea01



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