behaviorist and nativist theories of language acquisition pdf

Behaviorist And Nativist Theories Of Language Acquisition Pdf

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Language Acquisition

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To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. Vedat Kiymazarslan. Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. The doctrine of empiricism holds that all knowledge comes from experience, ultimately from our interaction with the environment through our reasoning or senses. Empiricism, in this sense, can be contrasted to nativism, which holds that at least some knowledge is not acquired through interaction with the environment, but is genetically transmitted and innate.

To put it another way, some theoreticians have based their theories on environmental factors while others believed that it is the innate factors that determine the acquisition of language. It is, however, important to note that neither nurturists environmentalists disagree thoroughly with the nativist ideas nor do nativists with the nurturist ideas. Only the weight they lay on the environmental and innate factors is relatively little or more. Before sifting through language acquisition theories here, therefore, making a distinction between these two types of perspectives will be beneficial for a better understanding of various language acquisition theories and their implications for the field of applied linguistics.

In the following paragraphs, the two claims posed by the proponents of the two separate doctrines will be explained and the reason why such a distinction has been made in this article will be clarified. Environmentalist theories of language acquisition hold that an organism's nurture, or experience, are of more significance to development than its nature or inborn contributions.

Yet they do not completely reject the innate factors. Behaviorist and neo-behaviorist stimulus-response learning theories S-R for simplicity are the best known examples. Even though such theories have lost their effect partially because of Chomsky's intelligent review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior Chomsky, , their effect has not been so little when we consider the present cognitive approach as an offshoot of behaviorism.

The nativist theories, on the other hand, assert that much of the capacity for language learning in human is 'innate'. It is part of the genetic makeup of human species and is nearly independent of any particular experience which may occur after birth.

Thus, the nativists claim that language acquisition is innately determined and that we are born with a built-in device which predisposes us to acquire language. This mechanism predisposes us to a systematic perception of language around us. Eric Lenneberg cited in Brown, , in his attempt to explain language development in the child, assumed that language is a species -specific behavior and it is 'biologically determined'.

Another important point as regards the innatist account is that nativists do not deny the importance of environmental stimuli, but they say language acquisition cannot be accounted for on the basis of environmental factors only. There must be some innate guide to achieve this end. The particular reason why such a distinction between environmentalist and nativist theories has been made in this study is to create a clear-cut picture of the current status of language acquisition theories, present and former studies in the field of language acquisition and language teaching methodology.

In the following part, the most important ones of language acquisition theories resulting from the two opposing views mentioned above will be discussed. Most of the theories may be considered in both L1 mother tongue and L2 second or foreign language acquisition even though certain theories to be discussed here have been resulted from second language acquisition SLA studies.

It is important to note once again that language acquisition theories have been influenced especially by linguistic and psychological schools of thought. Thus they have given relatively changing weights on different factors in approaching the acquisition process as can be seen in the following subsections. Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal DevelopmentVygotsky was a psychologist but his studies on conscious human behavior led him to investigate the role that language plays in human behavior.

Vygotsky's point of view is simply that social interaction plays an important role in the learning process. He places an emphasis on the role of "shared language" in the development of thought and language. The term "shared language" refers to social interaction and can be best elucidated through the notion of "zone of proximal development". According to Vygotsky , two developmental levels determine the learning process: egocentricity and interaction. We can look at what children do on their own and what they can do while working with others.

They mostly choose to remain silent or speak less on their own less egocentric speech when they are alone. However, they prefer to speak to other children when they play games with them more egocentric speech. The difference between these two types of development forms has been called "Zone of Proximal Development". This zone refers to the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in cooperation with more capable friends of the child.

The first thing that children do is to develop concepts by talking to adults and then solve the problems they face on their own. In other words, children first need to be exposed to social interaction that will eventually enable them build their inner resources. As for the drawbacks of the views proposed by Vygotsky, it is not clear what Vygotsky meant by inner resources.

Also, his emphasis on the significance of egocentric speech in the development of thought and language is worth discussing. He suggests that egocentric speech is social and helps children interact with others.

When a child is alone he uses less egocentric language than he uses it when playing games with other children. This implies that speech is influenced by the presence of other people. It seems that Vygotsky overemphasizes the function of egocentric speech in the development of language.

It is true that society and other people are important factors helping children to acquire language. However, Vygotsky fails to account for the role of the self itself in this process, even though he stresses the importance of egocentric speech, which is not the self actually, and see the relative role of inner linguistic and psycholinguistic mechanisms that promote language acquisition.

In conclusion, Vygotsky contends that language is the key to all development and words play a central part not only in the development of thought but in the growth of cognition as a whole. Within this framework, child language development, thus acquisition, can be viewed as the result of social interaction.

Skinner's Verbal BehaviorBehavioristic view of language acquisition simply claims that language development is the result of a set of habits. This view has normally been influenced by the general theory of learning described by the psychologist John B. Watson in , and termed behaviorism. Behaviorism denies nativist accounts of innate knowledge as they are viewed as inherently irrational and thus unscientific.

Knowledge is the product of interaction with the environment through stimulusresponse conditioning. Broadly speaking, stimulus ST -response RE learning works as follows. An event in the environment the unconditioned stimulus, or UST brings out an unconditioned response URE from an organism capable of learning.

That response is then followed by another event appealing to the organism. That is, the organism's response is positively reinforced PRE. This will consequently cause the organism to give the same response when it confronts with the same stimulus. In this way, the response becomes a conditioned response CRE.

The most risky part of the behavioristic view is perhaps the idea that all leaning, whether verbal language or non-verbal general learning takes place by means of the same underlying process, that is via forming habits. In , the psychologist B. When language acquisition is taken into consideration, the theory claims that both L1 and L2 acquirers receive linguistic input from speakers in their environment, and positive reinforcement for their correct repetitions and imitations.

As mentioned above, when language learners' responses are reinforced positively, they acquire the language relatively easily. These claims are strictly criticized in Chomsky's "A Review of B.

Skinner's Verbal Behavior". Chomsky asserts that there is "neither empirical evidence nor any known argument to support any specific claim about the relative importance of feedback from the environment". What is more, the theory overlooks the speaker internal factors in this process.

The behaviorists see errors as first language habits interfering with the acquisition of second language habits. If there are similarities between the two languages, the language learners will acquire the target structures easily. If there are differences, acquisition will be more difficult. This approach is known as the contrastive analysis hypothesis CAH.

Lightbown and Spada 25 note that:"… there is little doubt that a learner's first language influences the acquisition of second language. It is true that there might be some influences resulting from L1, but research Ellis, has shown that not all errors predicted by CAH are actually made. In brief, Skinner's view of language acquisition is a popular example of the nurturist ideas. The theory sees the language learner as a tabula rasa with no built-in knowledge.

The theory and the resulting teaching methods failed due to the fact that imitation and simple S-R connections only cannot explain acquisition and provide a sound basis for language teaching methodology. Piaget's View of Language AcquisitionEven though Piaget was a biologist and a psychologist, his ideas have been influential in the field of first and second language acquisition studies.

In fact he studied the overall behavioral development in the human infant. But his theory of development in children has striking implications as regards language acquisition. Ellidokuzoglu notes that "many scientists, especially the psychologists are hesitant to attribute a domain-specific built-in linguistic knowledge to the human infant.

Piaget was one of those psychologists who view language acquisition as a case of general human learning. He has not suggested, however, that the development is not innate, but only that there is no specific language module. Piaget's view was then that the development i. Piaget cited in Brown, , Eyseneck, outlined the course of intellectual development as follows:-The sensorimotor stage from ages 0 to 2 understanding the environment -The preoperational stage from ages 2 to 7 understanding the symbols -The concrete operational stage from ages 7 to 11 mental tasks and language use -The formal operational stage from the age 11 onwards dealing with abstraction Piaget observes, for instance, that the pre-linguistic stage birth to one year is a determining period in the development of sensory-motor intelligence, when children are forming a sense of their physical identity in relation to the environment.

Piaget, unlike Vygotsky, believes that egocentric speech on its own serves no function in language development. Piaget's work, which dwells on the idea that students can learn things when they are developmentally ready to do so since learning follows development, can be regarded as a starting point of the cognitivist ideas.

Cognitive psychologists emphasized the importance of meaning, knowing and understanding. According to them, 'meaning' plays an important role in human learning. In the case of language acquisition, these representations are based on language system and involve procedures for selecting appropriate vocabulary, grammatical rules, and pragmatic conventions governing language use.

David Ausubel cited in Brown, , who criticized the popular Audiolingual method for its theory based on reinforcement and conditioning, stated that adults learning a second language could profit from certain grammatical explanations. Whether adults do really profit from such explanations depends on 1 the suitability and efficiency of the explanation, 2 the teacher, 3 the context, and 4 other pedagogical variables.

Though children do not use deductive presentations of grammar and they do not have superior cognitive capacities, they acquire their mother tongue quite successfully.

Cognitive psychologists see second language acquisition, on the other hand, as the "building up of knowledge systems that can eventually be called automatically for speaking and understanding" Lightbown and Spada,

Language acquisition

Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language in other words, gain the ability to be aware of language and to understand it , as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate. Language acquisition involves structures, rules and representation. The capacity to use language successfully requires one to acquire a range of tools including phonology , morphology , syntax , semantics , and an extensive vocabulary. Language can be vocalized as in speech, or manual as in sign. Even though human language capacity is finite, one can say and understand an infinite number of sentences, which is based on a syntactic principle called recursion. Evidence suggests that every individual has three recursive mechanisms that allow sentences to go indeterminately.

Language–Learning From Behaviorism to Nativism

It highlights linguist Noam Chomsky's theories about the human brain's predisposition to understand language, and then profiles three scientists working on aspects of psycholinguistics. Written by Scott Thompson. Theories about Language Development The earliest theory about language development assumed that children acquire language through imitation.

Where Skinner saw all learning coming from external stimuli, Chomsky saw an innate device for language acquisition. Chomsky asserts with his theory that this inborn knowledge helps children to acquire their native language effortlessly and systematically despite the complexity of the process. There are some theorists who believe language is learned and others who believe that language is innate.

Contemporary Research

Because the acquisition of language is extremely complex, many theorists have studied and researched it meticulously. Through countless hours of observation and tests, there have been five theories created. Amongst those five are two that are very compound; the behaviorist theory and the nativist theory. There were two theorists, Skinner and Watson, who studied the development of language in young children, which became known as the behaviorist theory. Thus, they and others who believe solely in this theory are known as behaviorists.

 Нет. Только мы трое. Было ужасно жарко. - И вы уверены, что эта женщина - проститутка. - Абсолютно.

 Конечно, - чуть слышно сказала.  - Танкадо подумал, что раз мы приостановили действие его страхового полиса, то можем приостановить и его. Постепенно она начала понимать. Время сердечного приступа настолько устраивало АНБ, что Танкадо сразу понял, чьих это рук дело, и в последние мгновения своей жизни инстинктивно подумал о мести. Энсей Танкадо отдал кольцо, надеясь обнародовать ключ. И теперь - во что просто не верится - какой-то ни о чем не подозревающий канадский турист держит в своих руках ключ к самому мощному шифровальному алгоритму в истории.

Сьюзан застыла в полутора метрах от экрана, ошеломленная увиденным, и все называла имя человека, которого любила.

 Как прикажете это понимать. На лице Стратмора тут же появилось виноватое выражение. Он улыбнулся, стараясь ее успокоить. - С Дэвидом все в порядке. Просто мне приходится быть крайне осторожным.

Позади уже закрывались двери. Беккер понял, что, если его преследователь находится внутри, он в западне. В Севильском соборе единственный вход одновременно является выходом. Такая архитектура стала популярной в те времена, когда церкви одновременно служили и крепостями, защищавшими от вторжения мавров, поскольку одну дверь легче забаррикадировать. Теперь у нее была другая функция: любой турист, входящий в собор, должен купить билет.

Проснувшись утром в своей постели, Беккер заканчивал день тем, что ломился в гостиничный номер незнакомого человека в Испании в поисках какого-то магического кольца. Суровый голос Стратмора вернул его к действительности. Вы должны найти это кольцо.


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