FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITIONApplied LinguisticsIsabel Matos
THEORIES OF FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION Behavioral approaches Publicly observable responses Reinforcement & punishment Nativist approach Universal grammar Language acquisition is innate LAD (language acquisition device) Ability to distinguish speech sounds Ability to organize linguistic data into classes Knowledge that only certain system is possible Constant evaluation of the linguistic system
FUNCTIONAL APPROACH Language: dealing with the world Social context functions purposes Pragmatics Cognition Social interaction What children know about the Language is used for world determines what they interactive communication learn about the code.
ISSUES IN FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION Competence: ability to do something Performance: manifestation of competence Comprehension & production(listening , reading)(speaking, writing) Nature or Nurture? Problems with the nativist approach Genetic transmission? What are the behaviors given by nature ? And by teaching?
Universals: language is universally acquired in the same manner and the deepest structure is the same in all languages. Word order Negation Principles: are universal Question Formation Agreement Parameters : vary across languages
Systematicity and Variability The acquisition process is systematic but it is not clear where the limit of its stages is (variability) Language and thought Piaget: Language depends on cognitionBehaviorist: cognition Each language imposes on Jerome Bruner:is too mentalistic to be Its speaker a particular Language influencesstudied worldview cognition Benjamin Whorf & Edward Sapir: Linguistics relativity
Imitation Surface-structure imitation Repeating exactly the same but no understanding Deep-structure imitation My teacher holded the baby rabbits… Did you say that the teacher held the baby rabbits? Yes, she holded the baby rabbits… Practice and frequency Children’s practice and frequency of meaningful occurrence seem to be key factors in first language acquisition. Input Parental input is selective. Grammatical
Discourse Children acquired language through interaction rather than exposure.Context. Can you go to the movies tonight? I’m busy. How do they detect pragmatics? FLA & language teaching Weak theory François Gouin & Maximilian Berlitz Budget problems / public schools Series Method / Direct Method Difficult to use Naturalistic
“The second time around on something is always easier. In the case of language, this is not necessarily true.” Douglas Brown