CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN S LANGUAGETheir language development shows a high degree of similarity among children all over the world. • PREDICTABILITY • LEARNING THROUGH IMITATION • CREATIVITY
Before First Words -• The earliest vocalizations –Involuntary crying –Cooing and gurgling – showing satisfaction or happiness
Before First Words -“Babbling” –Babies use sounds to reflect the characteristics of the different language they are learning.
First Words Around 12 months (“one-word” stage):–one or two recognizable words (esp. content word);–Single-word sentences.
By the age of 2 (“two-word” stage): 1) at least 50 different words 2) “telegraphic” sentences (no function words and grammatical morphemes) e.g., “Mommy juice”, “baby fall down” 3) reflecting the order of the language. e.g., “kiss baby”, “baby kiss” 4) creatively combining words. e.g., “more outside”, “all gone cookie”
By the age of 4– Most children are able to: ask questions,give commands,report real events, create stories about imaginary ones with correct word order and grammatical markers most of the time.
By the age of 4–basic structures of the language–less frequent and more complex linguistic structures.–use of the language in a widening social environment.
• Development of Metalinguistic Awareness• Development of Vocabulary
THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO L1 ACQUISITION1) Behaviorism: Say what I say2) Innatism: It’s all in your mind3) Interactionist/Developmental perspectives: Learning from inside and out Bibliography: Lightbown, Patsy. Spada, Nina. “How languages are learned” 1993
1) BEHAVIORISM: SAY WHAT I SAYSkinner: language behaviour is the production of correct responses to stimuli through reinforcement.
Language learning is the result of: imitation (word-for-word repetition), practice (repetitive manipulation of form),feedback on success (positive reinforcement) habit formation.
The quality and quantity of the language that the child hears as well as the consistency of the reinforcement offered by others in the environmentwould shape thechild’s language behaviour.
Children’s imitations are not random Their imitation is selective andbased on what they are currently learning.
Children’s practice of new language forms– substitution drills.– It is selective and reflects what they would like to learn.– They pick out patterns/rules and then generalize or overgeneralize them to new contexts.
Chomsky (1959) argues that behaviorism cannot provide sufficient explanations forchildren’s language acquisition for the following reasons:
–Children come to know more about the structure of their language than they could be expected to learn on the basis ofthe samples of language they hear.
– The language children are exposed to includes false starts, incomplete sentences and slips of the tongue, and yet they learn to distinguish between grammatical and ungrammatical sentences. – Children are by no means systematically corrected or instructed on language by parents.
Children are In the same Language biologically way of other develops inprogrammed biological the childfor language functions
LAD: LANGUAGE ACQUISITION DEVICE ( or BLACK BOX)– It contains all and only the principles which are universal to all human languages (i.e.. Universal Grammar – UG).
If children are pre- equipped with UG.What they have to learn isThe ways in which theirown language make use of those principles
They By matchingchildren need discover the the innate access only structure of knowledge ofto samples of the basic a natural language to grammatical language be learned principles (UG) which serve Once the to the structures of as a trigger LAD is the particular to activate the device. activated language in the environment.
CONCLUSION• Children’s acquisition of grammatical rules is guided by principles of an innate UG which could apply to all languages. • Children “know” certain things of the language just by being exposed to a limited number of samples.
Evidence used to support Chomsky’s innatist position: Virtually all childrensuccessfully learn their native language at a time in life when they would not be expected to learn anything else so complicated (i.e. biologically programmed).
–Language is separate from other aspects of cognitive developments(e.g., creativity and social grace)and may be located in a different “module" of the brain.
The language children areexposed to does not contain examplesof all the linguistic rules and patterns.
Animals cannot learnto manipulate a symbol system as complicated as the natural language of a 3- or 4-year-old child.
Children acquire grammatical rules without getting explicit instruction.
The biological basis for the innatist position: The Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) –Lenneberg:• There is a specific and limited time period (i.e., “critical period”) for the LAD to work successfully. • Only when it is stimulated at the right time
ONLY BY STRONG PUBERTYTwo versions AFTER PUBERTY IT WILL BE MORE WEAK DIFFICULT AND INCOMPLETE
Virtually every child learns language on a similar schedule in spite of different environments. – Three case studies of abnormal language development - evidence of the CPH •Victor – a boy of about 12 years old (1799) •Genie – a girl of 13 years old (1970) •Deaf signers (native signers, early learners, vs. late learners)
3) INTERACTIONIST/DEVELOPMENTAL PERSPECTIVES: LEARNING FROM INSIDE AND OUT
Problems of Innatism: Too much emphasis on the “final state” but not enough on thedevelopmental aspects of language acquisition.
• Language was ONE manifestationof the cognitive and affective ability to deal with the world • Innatistsdealt with FORMS of the language, not with the FUNCTIONAL levels of meaning constructed from SOCIAL INTERACTION
INTERACTIONISM: Bruner Language acquisitionis an example of children’s ability to learn from experience. What children need to know is essentially available in the language they are exposed to.
the innate learning ability of children LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENTthe environment in which they develop
MODIFIED SPEECH CRUCIAL ELEMENTin language acquisition process
CARETAKER TALK• It is the way adults modify their speech when communicating with kids. • Slower rate of speech • Higher pitch • More varied intonation • Shorter simpler sentence patterns • Frequent repetition • Paraphrase
Developmental psychologists attribute more importance to the environmentBut they recognize a powerful learning mechanism in the human brain.
PIAGET“Children’s cognitive development determines their language development.”
The interaction between the child the developing cognitiveunderstanding things which can be observed, touched, and manipulated
Language was one of a number of symbol systems developed in childhood, rather than a separate module of the mind.
Language can be used to represent knowledge that children have acquiredthrough physical interaction with the environment.
VYGOTSKY Sociocultural theory of human mental processing.He argued that language develops primarily from social interaction.
Zone of proximal development (ZPD):• A level that a child is able to do when there is support from interaction with a more advanced interlocutor.• A supportive interactive environment enables children to advance to a higher level of knowledge and performance than s/he would be able to do independently.
Vygotsky observed the importance of conversations which children have with adults and with other children and saw in these conversations the origins of both language and thought.
ESSENTIALLY THOUGHT INTERANALIZED SPEECH EMERGED IN SOCIAL SPEECHINTERACTION
The Childs Language Environment• There is NO DIRECT PRESSURE to learn • There is NO TIME LIMIT for learning.• There is NO WAY OF ESCAPING into a different language (no vacations). • The language is NOT SEQUENCED BY GRAMMAR OR VOCABULARY (no textbook).
The Childs Language Environment• There is LOTS OF REPETITION• Both the LANGUAGE AND THE WORLD ARE NEW.• All the language is spoken IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SURROUNDING WORLD.• THE LANGUAGE IS ALL AROUND.
The Childs Language Environment • The child has MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR USING the language to communicate to those around him.• Much of THE LANGUAGE IS SIMPLIFIED to the level of understanding of the child.
The Childs Learning Strategies • The child in NOT INTERESTED IN LANGUAGE for its own sake.• The child is NOT DISTURBED by the language he does not understand.• The child ENJOYS THE REPETITIVEevents of his life, and uses this enjoyment to help him learn.
The Childs Learning Strategies • The child USES HIS PRIMARY INTERESTS to help him learn.• The child directs his attention to things that are EASY TO UNDERSTAND. • The child possesses a natural desire TO CALL AN OBJECT BY ITS NAME.
The Childs Learning Strategies• The child adds words to his speakingvocabulary more easily IF HE ALREADYKNOWS HOW TO PRONOUNCE THEM.• The child IMMEDIATELY USES the language, and his SUCCESS IN COMMUNICATION BUILDS CONFIDENCE.
The Childs Learning Strategies• The child uses his natural desire TOPARTICIPATE IN THE LIFE AROUND HIM to help him learn new language. • The child brings TREMENDOUS INGENUITY to the task of learning.
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