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1. Language Acquisition Theory 2. Children & Language 3. Characteristics of language in young children ༝ There is a similarity of the way children learn language…
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  • 1. Language Acquisition Theory
  • 2. Children & Language
  • 3. Characteristics of language in young children ༝ There is a similarity of the way children learn language around the world ༝ Young babies can hear the difference in sounds ༝ Predictable ‘patterns’ seen within the first three years of language acquisition. ༝ These patterns/stages are related to cognitive development. 3
  • 4. Preschool age ༝ By this age most language is acquired, children are developing the ability to use it in different environments ༝ Learning complex linguistic structures and several new words a day. ༝ By this age children can: ༝ Give commands, report real events, create imaginary stories, use correct word order and grammar, 4
  • 5. School age ༝ School requires the using language for academic tasks; children acquire a different register of language ༝ New environment and language tasks help to build vocabulary ༝ Children fluent in non-standard dialects will acquire the standard dialect and academic register 5
  • 6. First Language Acquisition 6
  • 7. 3 Major Language Acquisition Perspectives/Theories Behaviorist Innatist Interactionist/ Developmental 7
  • 8. Behaviorist Children imitate language heard around them -> receive positive reinforcement -> continue imitation = language acquisition 8
  • 9. Behaviorist Perspective ༝ Ivan Pavlov & B.F. Skinner ༝ Popular until 1950’s ༝ Children are born with ‘tabula rasa’ blank slate ༝ They imitate language until they form habits of correct language use ༝ Stimulus -> Response -> Reinforcement ○ Environment provides stimuli ○ Caregivers provide reinforcement 9
  • 10. “ 10
  • 11. Behaviorism (cont.) ༝ The form of language + quantity of language + consistency of reinforcement will shape child’s language behavior ༝ Language learning is a result of imitation & practice ༝ Imitation: word for word repetition of language ༝ Practice: manipulation of language form 11
  • 12. “ 12
  • 13. Arguments against Behaviorism ༝ It can explain how regular and routine aspects of language are learned at early stages ༝ Cannot explain how children acquire complex grammatical forms that are not available for them to imitate 13
  • 14. 3 Major Language Acquisition Perspectives/Theories Behaviorist Innatist Interactionist/ Developmental 14
  • 15. Innatist/Nativist All human languages are based on some innate principals and children are born with a specific innate ability to discover them 15
  • 16. Innatist/Navist Perspective ༝ Noam Chomsky ༝ Language develops like other biological functions and children are biologically ‘programmed’ to acquire it ༝ Language Acquisition Device (LAD) a system in the brain that enables children to learn and internalize the universal rules of grammar and internalize them ༝ Specifically for language acquisition 16
  • 17. Innatist/ Naticvist (cont.) ༝ With the LAD children can acquire universal grammar (UG) ༝ UG: principals that are universal to all human language ༝ Explains how children acquire complex syntax they may not be exposed to 17
  • 18. Innatist / Navitist (cont.) ༝ Critical Period Hypothesis ༝ All animals, including humans, are genetically programmed to acquire certain kinds of knowledge at specific times (critical period) in their lives ༝ After this critical period it is nearly impossible to acquire this knowledge ༝ The CP Hypothesis is applied to language learning but hard to disprove ○ L’enfant sauvage (The Wild Child) ○ Studies show that there is a critical period in oral and gestural language 18
  • 19. “ 19
  • 20. Arguments against the Innatist/Nativist perspective ༝ Too much of a focus on the ‘final stage’ of language acquisition and not enough on the process or the development of language ༝ More emphasis on the environment is needed 20
  • 21. 3 Major Language Acquisition Perspectives/Theories Behaviorist Innatist Interactionist/ Developmental 21
  • 22. Interactionist/Developmental What children need to learn about language is available in the environment around them; interaction with those around them will help to develop language. 22
  • 23. Interactionist/Developmentalist perspectives ༝ Psychologist: Paiget & Vygotsky ༝ See language acquisition as similar to and influenced by the acquisition of other skills ༝ Nature + Nurture = language acquisition ༝ Recognize the LAD but believe that social interaction/community are key to language acquisition ༝ Usage based linguistics 23
  • 24. Interactionist/Developmentalist perspectives (cont) ༝ vs Behaviorism- more emphasis on child’s ability to create networks of association rather than just imitation ༝ vs Innatist/Nativist – language acquisition does not require a separate ‘module of the mind’ but depends on child’s general learning abilities and contributions to the environment 24
  • 25. Interactionist/Developmental perspectives (cont) ༝ Piaget: language can be used to represent knowledge that children have acquired through physical interaction ༝ Children’s language acquisition is built on their cognitive development 1. Sensorimotor (0-2 yrs) 2. Pre – operational (2-7 yrs) 3. Concrete Operational (7-11 yrs) 4. Formal Operational (11 to adulthood) 25
  • 26. Interactionist/Developmental perspectives (cont) ༝ Vygotsky: language develops from social interaction ༝ Supportive interactive environments helps children achieve higher levels of knowledge and performance ༝ Zone of Proximal Development: what students can do with scaffolding instead of independently ○ Scaffolding is a supportive structure for students to help them make the most of the knowledge they have 26
  • 27. “ 27Scaffold
  • 28. Piaget vs. Vygotsky 28 Language as a symbol system that could be sued to express knowledge acquired through interaction with the physical world Thought is essentially internalized speech that emerges in social interaction
  • 29. 3 Major Language Acquisition Perspectives/Theories Behaviorist Innatist Interactionist/ Developmental 29
  • 30. Class activity As a pair or group, create a poster for one of the 3 L1 Language Perspectives discussed today. Your poster should include key supporter, ideas, theories etc. Remember that a poster is images, single phrases, emojis etc.; this should be a visual representation. 30
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