Behaviorists regard language as a ‘very simple type of behavior’, which is a ‘manipulative habit’. (Watson, 1924) They focus on the observable and measurable aspect of language. Children (learners) act as recipients in the course of learning. It is believed that a child’s language acquisition is modeled by their caretakers.
When under a certain environment condition , human react in particular verbal behavior . Behaviorists refer to the environment condition as “ stimuli ”, and the verbal behavior as “ response ”. Behaviorists believe this bond of stimulus-response can be strength through reinforcement . Eventually, it forms habit.
At first, child gives random unconditioned response (UCR) to unconditioned stimuli (UCS). Later, as association between object and meaning is established, the child begins to react to the known word ( conditioned stimuli or CS) in a particular way ( conditioned response or CR).
We agree that some aspect of behaviorism can work in real life. Behaviorists believe, for example, “the course of language development is largely determine by the course of training, not maturation. This statement is partially true. Nurturing is important in language learning; however, maturation of the brain also plays an important factor. Language learning is divided into many stages according to development and maturation.
Would you expect a two year old to produce a long sentence?