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Acquisition theories

Operant conditioning The idea that either a positive or a negative response given by a caregiver can influence the way in which a child talks on future occasion (Skinner)
Positive reinforcement The positive feedback given to a child which is through to encourage similar performance again (Skinner)
Negative reinforcement The lack of feedback, correction or negative feedback that might prevent a child from making the same error repeatedly (Skinner)
Tabula rasa Latin for ‘blank slate’ and the term used to describe the idea that children are born with undeveloped, fresh brains
Language Acquisition Device (LAD) As proposed by Chomsky (the idea that all humans are born with an innate language learning capacity)
Universal grammar Term coined by Chomsky – the notion that all human languages possess similar grammatical properties which the brain is ‘hard wired’ to be able to decode and use
Virtuous errors Grammatical errors that are understandable and local through an incorrect assumption being made about grammar rules (Chomsky)
Critical period The age at which a child will be most receptive to learn language (suggested by Lenneberg to be up to age of 5)
Cognitive development A child’s development of thinking and understanding
Language Acquisition Support System (LASS) System as proposed by Bruner (ie the caregivers and other individuals who play a key role in a child’s language development)
Scaffolding The support provided by caregivers through modelling how speech ought to take place, in order to help the child’s language development (Bruner and Vygotsky)
Egocentric Thinking only of themselves, without understanding or regard for the feelings of others (Piaget)
Object permanence An understanding that objects continue to exist even when they can’t be seen or touched (Piaget)
More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) The older participant in an interaction who might offer support to a child so that they can further their own development or learning (Vygotsky)
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Describes the area between what a child can already do and that which is beyond their reach. It is the area into which a caregiver might enable the child to progress by offering the necessary support or scaffolding to facilitate learning (Vygotsky)
Usage-based linguistics A model that emphasise that language structure emerges from use in that linguistic patterns are formed and become what we know as grammatical constructions (Tomasello)
Created by: MB-J
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