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MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
PSYCHOLINGUISTICS:
THEORIES OF LANGUAGE
ACQUISITION
KEY ISSUES
• Linguistics
• Applied Linguistics
• Psychology
• Psycholinguistics
• Theories and Models of Language Acquisition
INTRODUCTION
How do children learn to speak? Behavioral theory assumes that children imitate what they hear, and thanks to continuous, positive
reinforcement, children learn language through conditioning and habit formation. A great many theories regarding language
development in human beings have been proposed in the past and still being proposed in the present time. No matter who has the
reason, language teachers must have knowledge, not only about the discipline they are teaching, but also about how children learn a
language.
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of the human language.
Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories of
study: Language Form, Language Meaning and Language in
Context
One subfield of linguistics is the study of language structure, or
grammar. This focuses on the system of rules followed by the
users of a language. It includes the study of morphology (the
formation and composition of words), syntax (the formation
and composition of phrases and sentences from these words),
phonology (the study of speech sounds in their cognitive
aspects), and phonetics (the study of speech sounds in their
physical aspects, and how they are produced and perceived.
The study of language meaning is concerned with how
languages employ logical structures and real-world references
to convey, process, and assign meaning, as well as to manage
and resolve ambiguity. This category includes the study of
semantics (how meaning is inferred from words and concepts)
and pragmatics (how meaning is inferred from context).
Linguistics also looks at the broader context in which language
is influenced by social, cultural, historical and political factors.
Psycholinguistics
Or psychology of language is the study of the psychological
and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire,
use, and understand language.
Psycholinguistics covers the cognitive processes that make it
possible to generate a grammatical and meaningful sentence
out of vocabulary and grammatical structures, as well as the
processes that make it possible to understand utterances,
words, text, etc.
Developmental psycholinguistics studies children's ability to
learn language.
Psycholinguists study how word meaning, sentence meaning,
and discourse meaning are computed and represented in the
mind. They study how complex words and sentences are
composed in speech and how they are broken down into their
constituents in the acts of listening and reading. In short,
psycholinguists seek to understand how language is done.
Areas of study
Psycholinguistics is an interdisciplinary field. Hence, it is
studied by researchers from a variety of different backgrounds,
such as psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and speech
and language pathology. Psycholinguists study many different
topics, but these topics can generally be divided into
answering the following questions:
(1) How do children acquire language (language acquisition)?
(2) How do people process and comprehend language
(language comprehension)?
(3) How do people produce language (language production)?
(4) How do adults acquire/learn a new language (second
language acquisition/learning)?
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
It is interesting to think about your own particular way of learning and to recognise that everyone does not learn the way you do.
Teaching and learning activities can be designed and implemented to take principles of learning into account.
Language is complicated, difficult for one theory to explain how we learn all aspects of language. Each of the theories explains some
aspects of language.
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and
communicate. It involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an extensive vocabulary. However,
learning a first language is something that every normal child does successfully without much need for formal lessons. Language
development is a complex and unique human quality but yet children seem to acquire language at a very rapid rate with most
children's speech being relatively grammatical by age three (Crain & Lillo-Martin, 1999). Grammar, which is a set of mental rules that
characterizes all of the sentences of a language, must be mastered in order to learn a language. Most children in a linguistic
community seem to succeed in converging on a grammatical system equivalent to everyone else in the community with few wrong
turns, which is quite remarkable considering the complexity of the system. By the time a child utters a first word, according to the
Linguistic Society of America, he or she has already spent many months playing around with the sounds and intonations of
language, but there is still no one point at which all children learn to talk. Children acquire language in stages and different children
reach various stages at different times, although they have one thing in common and that is that children learning the same language
will follow an almost identical pattern in the sequence of stages they go through.
The stages usually consist of:
• cooing- 6 months- use phonemes from every language
• babbling- 9 months- selectively use phonemes from their native language
• one word utterances- 12 months- start using single words
• telegraphic speech- 2 years- multi-word utterances that lack in function
• normal speech- 5 years- almost normal developed speech
Learning is one of the most important activities in which humans engage. It is at the very core of the educational process, although
most of what people learn occurs outside of school. For thousands of years, philosophers and psychologists have sought to
understand the nature of learning, how it occurs, and how one person can influence the learning of another person through teaching
and similar endeavors. Various theories of learning have been suggested, and these theories differ for a variety of reasons. A theory,
most simply, is a combination of different factors or variables woven together in an effort to explain whatever the theory is about. In
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
general, theories based on scientific evidence are considered more valid than theories based on opinion or personal experience. In
any case, it is wise to be cautious when comparing the appropriateness of different theories.
Spend anytime around a baby who is acquiring spoken language, and you soon realize how truly amazing the acquisition of language
is. There are many schools of thought that try to explain how children acquire or learn the language, and there is still much debate as
to which theory is the correct one. Some theories state that all language must be learned by the child. Others view state that the
abstract system of language cannot be learned, but that humans possess an innate language faculty, or an access to what has been
called universal grammar. The view that language must be learned was especially popular before 1960 and is well represented by the
mentalist theories of Jean Piaget. Likewise, the school of psychology known as behaviorism by B.F. Skinner puts forth the point of
view that language is a behavior shaped by conditioned response, hence it is learned.
Historical Theories and Models of Language Acquisition
The Behaviourist View
of Language Learning.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner Theory
“Give me a dozen healt hy infants, well-formed, and I will guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of
specialist I might select, doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar man and thief, regardless of his talents,
tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors” John Watson.
The process of language learning according to behaviorists
can be explained in terms of conditioning. The child begins to
hear during the 1st year of his life a large number of speech
sound produced by his parents. Gradually he learns to
associate these sounds with the situations, which accompany
them. For instance, the child learns to recognize the sound of
endearment, which his mother produces when she feeds him.
After sometimes, these sounds become pleasurable in
themselves even when they are not accompanied by food. At
this stage, conditioning to language has begun. The more
frequently the child is exposed to this process of conditioning,
the stronger its effect., which the child obtains from the
conditioning process.
Before long, the child begins to imitate some of speech sounds
that he has heard; the child does so in an attempt to control
the environment and to invite the attention of his mother. The
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
mother may fail to response to the majority of these random
signals, but if the child, by chance, produces the vocal
stimulus, which the mother recognizes as the appropriate, she
responses.
When a behavior pattern is rewarded, this deals to the
formation of the bound of association. Initially learning takes
places through a random association but once it has been
formed it is rapidly strengthened through repetition. The child is
able to confirm that a certain vocal utterance is the correct
stimulus for the desired response; he can then repeat the
utterance each time it is needed.
On the other hand, a behavior pattern that is not rewarded gets
extinguished (will not be repeated by the child). The child will
not continue to produce the utterance for which the mother
does not take any notice of it. This is said to be the natural
process of language learning, which a language-teaching
program should try to stimulate.
Note: Behaviorism does not distinguish between the language
of human being and that of animal.
To sum up, the behaviorist theory believes that infants learn
oral language from other human role models through a
process involving imitation, rewards, and practice. Human role
models in an infant´s environment provide the stimuli and
rewards. When a child attempts oral language or imitates the
sounds or speech patterns they are usually praised and given
affection for their efforts. Thus. Praise and affection becomes
the rewards. However, the behaviorist theory is criticized for a
variety of reasons. If rewards play such a vital component in
language development, what about the parent who is
inattentive or not present when the child attempts speech? If
baby´s language learning were motivated strictly by rewards,
would the speech attempts stop merely for lack of rewards.
The Cognitive View of
Language Learning.
Jean Piaget
Cognitive theory is concerned with the development of a
person's thought processes. It also looks at how these thought
processes influence how we understand and interact with the
world. The foremost cognitive thinker was Jean Piaget, who
proposed an idea that seems obvious now, but helped
revolutionize how we think about child development: Children
think differently than adults. Piaget then proposed a theory of
cognitive development to account for the steps and sequence
of children's intellectual development.
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
Cognitive theory is a learning theory of psychology that
attempts to explain human behavior by understanding the
thought processes. The assumption is that humans are logical
beings that make the choices that make the most sense to
them. Information processing is a commonly used description
of the mental process, comparing the human mind to a
computer. This explanation of language learning contrasts
strongly with the behaviourist account of language learning,
which sees language learning as an unconscious, automatic
process.
Pure cognitive theory largely rejects behaviorism on the basis
that behaviorism reduces complex human behavior to simple
cause and effect.
He proposed that children's thinking does not develop entirely
smoothly: instead, there are certain points at which it "takes
off" and moves into completely new areas and capabilities. He
saw these transitions as taking place at about 18 months, 7
years and 11 or 12 years. This has been taken to mean that
before these ages children are not capable (no matter how
bright) of understanding things in certain ways, and has been
used as the basis for scheduling the school curriculum.
Stages of Cognitive Development
Stage Characterised by
Sensori-motor
(Birth-2 years)
Differentiates self from objects
Recognises self as agent of action and begins to act intentionally: e.g. pulls a string to set
mobile in motion or shakes a rattle to make a noise
Achieves object permanence: realises that things continue to exist even when no longer
present to the sense.
Pre-operational
(2-7 years)
Learns to use language and to represent objects by images and words
Thinking is still egocentric: has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others
Classifies objects by a single feature: e.g. groups together all the red blocks regardless of
shape or all the square blocks regardless of colour
Concrete operational
(7-11 years)
Can think logically about objects and events
Achieves conservation of number (age 6), mass (age 7), and weight (age 9)
Classifies objects according to several features and can order them in series along a single
dimension such as size.
Formal operational
(11 years and up)
Can think logically about abstract propositions and test hypotheses systemtically
Becomes concerned with the hypothetical, the future, and ideological problems
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
The Nativist Theory.
Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky's innateness or nativist theory proposes that children have an inborn or innate faculty for
language acquisition that is biologically determined. Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known and the most
influential linguist of the second half of the Twentieth Century. He has made a number of strong claims about
language: in particular, he suggests that language is an innate faculty - that is to say that we are born with a
set of rules about language in our heads which he refers to as the 'Universal Grammar'. According to
Chomsky, infants acquire grammar because it is a universal property of language, an inborn development,
and has coined these fundamental grammatical ideas that all humans have as universal grammar (The
universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages build. Chomsky gives a number of reasons
why this should be so:
1. Children are exposed to very little correctly formed language. When people speak, they constantly interrupt themselves,
change their minds, and make slips of the tongue and so on. Yet children manage to learn their language all the same.
2. Children do not simply copy the language that they hear around them. They deduce rules from it, which they can then use to
produce sentences that they have never heard before. They do not learn a repertoire of phrases and sayings, as the
behaviourists believe, but a grammar that generates infinity of new sentences.
When the child begins to listen to his parents, he will unconsciously recognise which kind of a language he is dealing with - and he
will set his grammar to the correct one - this is known as 'setting the parameters'.
It is as if the child were offered at birth a certain number of hypotheses, which he or she then matches with what is happening around
him. He knows intuitively that there are some words that behave like verbs, and others like nouns, and that there is a limited set of
possibilities as to their ordering within the phrase. This is not information that he is taught directly by the adults that surround him, but
information that is given.
This set of language learning tools, provided at birth, is referred to by Chomsky as the Language Acquisition Device or Universal
Grammar (the idea of a language organ in our brains that lets us learn language very quickly, particularly during the first 2-3 years of
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
life). Nativists argue that without such a biological predisposition, it would be impossible to learn language as quickly and as
thoroughly as we do.
Our parents didn't teach us how to talk. Yet we learned from them. How can this be? Certainly there must have been a subtle,
perhaps intuitive teaching process that neither our parents nor we were aware of. We begin by imitating what we hear from our
parents as best we can, repeating random phrases. Our parents in subtle ways punish us for the childish speech errors we make (by
not responding, correcting the error, etc.) and reward correct phrases (by responding positively). As our speech improves, our
parents respond more positively and less negatively.
Essentially, nativists say that the ability to learn language is inborn, whereas behaviorists say that this is entirely learned.
Social Interactionist Theory.
Lev Vygotsky
Vygotsky's social interaction theory incorporates nurture arguments in that children can be influenced by their
environment as well as the language input children receive from their care-givers. Although the theories of
Skinner, Chomsky and Piaget are all very different and very important in their own contexts, they don't necessarily
take into account the fact that children don't encounter language in isolation. The child is a little linguist analyzing
language from randomly encountered adult utterances. The interaction theory proposes that language exists for the purpose of
communication and can only be learned in the context of interaction with adults and older children. It stresses the importance of the
environment and culture in which the language is being learned during early childhood development because this social interaction is
what first provides the child with the means of making sense of their own behavior and how they think about the surrounding world.
However, one must remember that although our social context provides support for language acquisition, it does not directly provide
the knowledge that is necessary to acquire language and this perhaps where a child`s innate abilities come into play.
According to Vygotsky, social interaction plays an important role in the learning process and proposed the zone of proximal
development (ZPD) where learners construct the new language through socially mediated interaction.
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
The cognitive development of children and adolescents is enhanced when they work in their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD for
short). To reach the ZPD, children need the help of adults or more competent individuals to support or scaffold them as they are
learning new things. The zone of proximal development has been defined as "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 collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, 1978, p86).
According to Vygotsky's theory, children can do more with the help and guidance of an adult or other person more experienced
person than they can do by themselves. The Zone of Proximal Development defines skills and abilities that are in the process of
developing. The ZPD is the range of tasks that one cannot yet perform independently, but can accomplish with the help of a more
competent individual. For example, a child might not be able to walk on her own, but she can do so while holding her mother's hand.
Since children are always learning new things, the ZPD changes as new skills are acquired.
In the example above, the child's mother provided assistance to the child. The mother acted as a scaffold in that situation. Scaffolding
is the structure or guidance of a more experienced person. There are many different ways of scaffolding, including breaking the task
down into smaller steps, providing motivation, and providing feedback about progress as the person progresses.
Principios de la Teoría Conductista
Este enfoque, tiene como uno de sus representantes más importante al psicólogo norteamericano Burrhus Frederic Skinner, quien
sostiene que todas las conductas del ser humano se rigen por el esquema general de Estímulo-Respuesta. Esto quiere decir que lo
que hacemos tiene consecuencias que pueden ser buenas o malas, siendo capaces de anticiparlas para comportarnos de una forma
u otra.
En lo referente al lenguaje, la Teoría Conductista afirma que es una conducta más que funciona de forma similar a otros
comportamientos del ser humano, como el caminar o la capacidad cognitiva, y que existe gracias a una serie de estímulos que
contribuyen a la aparición, mantenimiento y desarrollo de la conducta verbal.
Para Skinner, el aprendizaje del lenguaje se produciría por simples mecanismos de condicionamiento. En un principio los niños
simplemente imitarían, para después asociar determinadas palabras a situaciones, objetos o acciones. El aprendizaje del
vocabulario y de la gramática se haría por condicionamiento operante. La gente que se encuentra alrededor del niño recompensará
la vocalización de enunciados correctos gramaticalmente, la presencia de nuevas palabras en el vocabulario, la formulación de
preguntas y respuestas, etc. y castigará con la desaprobación todas las formas del lenguaje incorrecto, como enunciados
agramaticales, palabras obscenas.
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
Principios de la Teoría Cognitiva.
Enfoque que sostiene que el origen del lenguaje está íntimamente vinculado con el desarrollo cognitivo, de tal forma que el niño
aprenderá a hablar sólo cuando acceda cognitivamente a un determinado nivel de ese desarrollo cognitivo. En otras palabras un
niño aprenderá a hablar en el momento en que esté preparado cognitivamente para ello.
Según esta teoría la adquisición del lenguaje depende del desarrollo de la inteligencia, es decir, se necesita inteligencia para poder
adquirir un lenguaje. En esta teoría se busca reflejar cómo se desarrolla nuestra capacidad cognitiva desde los primeros años de
vida hasta la madurez intelectual.
La inteligencia empieza a desarrollarse desde que nacemos, mucho antes de que el niño hable, por lo que el irá aprendiendo a
hablar según su desarrollo cognitivo evolucione y alcance el nivel necesario para ello.
Es el pensamiento el que hace posible adquirir un lenguaje, lo que implica que cuando el ser humano nace no posee un lenguaje
innato, sino que lo va adquiriendo poco a poco como parte del desarrollo cognitivo.
Finalmente Piaget sostiene, que el lenguaje, al igual que otros aprendizajes del ser humano, requiere de los procesos de asimilación
y acomodación.
Principios de la Teoría Innata
Esta teoría se encuentra dentro de la postura nativista y fue formulada por el psicolingüístico Chomsky a finales de los
años cincuenta. En ella se postula que los principios del lenguaje son innatos y no aprendidos. El lenguaje se adquiere
porque los seres humanos están biológicamente programados para ello. Todos los seres humanos van a desarrollar una
lengua porque están preparados para ello, sin importar el grado de complejidad de la lengua.
Para explicar su teoría Chomsky propone el concepto de Dispositivo para la adquisición del lenguaje (DAL), que sería
algo así como un procesador lingüístico innato donde hay grabada una gramática universal o el conocimiento de
reglas presentes en todas las lenguas, es decir, los niños nacen con un sistema de opciones lingüísticas innatas, y es el
contexto el que determina cuales se activan o no. El desarrollo del lenguaje está pre programado en cada individuo y
comienza a desarrollarse inmediatamente al estar expuesto a la lengua nativa. Por lo que la exposición a la lengua que
se utiliza en su entorno es el único requisito necesario para poner en funcionamiento el dispositivo innato y adquirir un
lenguaje.
MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO
PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA
Principios de la Teoría de la Interacción Social
los interaccionistas opinan que, junto al Dispositivo para la Adquisición del Lenguaje (propuesto por Chomsky y la Teoría Innatista),
existe una especie de ayuda que facilita la adquisición del lenguaje, la cual correspondería al entorno del niño y a todas las personas
del mismo que interactúan con él. De este modo, en esta teoría podemos hablar de andamiaje Zonas de Desarrollo Próximo.
La Teoría Interaccionista tiene como máximos representantes al psicólogo Ruso Lev Vigotsky y al psicólogo Estadounidense Jerome
Bruner.
El andamiaje es un proceso de enseñanza facilitador del aprendizaje del bebé y del niño. Gracias a él, el niño es dirigido, a través de
pequeños pasos que puede entender, hacia lograr el éxito de una tarea completa más difícil. Todo ello teniendo en cuenta la Zona
de Desarrollo Próximo del niño. Estas Zonas de Desarrollo Próximo son una forma de ver si el aprendizaje está o no adecuado a los
niveles de desarrollo real y potencial del niño. Es decir, la diferencia entre aquello que es capaz de hacer el niño por sí solo y aquello
que sería capaz de hacer con la ayuda de otra persona más capaz.

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theories of language acquisition

  • 1. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA PSYCHOLINGUISTICS: THEORIES OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION KEY ISSUES • Linguistics • Applied Linguistics • Psychology • Psycholinguistics • Theories and Models of Language Acquisition INTRODUCTION How do children learn to speak? Behavioral theory assumes that children imitate what they hear, and thanks to continuous, positive reinforcement, children learn language through conditioning and habit formation. A great many theories regarding language development in human beings have been proposed in the past and still being proposed in the present time. No matter who has the reason, language teachers must have knowledge, not only about the discipline they are teaching, but also about how children learn a language.
  • 2. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA Linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of the human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories of study: Language Form, Language Meaning and Language in Context One subfield of linguistics is the study of language structure, or grammar. This focuses on the system of rules followed by the users of a language. It includes the study of morphology (the formation and composition of words), syntax (the formation and composition of phrases and sentences from these words), phonology (the study of speech sounds in their cognitive aspects), and phonetics (the study of speech sounds in their physical aspects, and how they are produced and perceived. The study of language meaning is concerned with how languages employ logical structures and real-world references to convey, process, and assign meaning, as well as to manage and resolve ambiguity. This category includes the study of semantics (how meaning is inferred from words and concepts) and pragmatics (how meaning is inferred from context). Linguistics also looks at the broader context in which language is influenced by social, cultural, historical and political factors. Psycholinguistics Or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, and understand language. Psycholinguistics covers the cognitive processes that make it possible to generate a grammatical and meaningful sentence out of vocabulary and grammatical structures, as well as the processes that make it possible to understand utterances, words, text, etc. Developmental psycholinguistics studies children's ability to learn language. Psycholinguists study how word meaning, sentence meaning, and discourse meaning are computed and represented in the mind. They study how complex words and sentences are composed in speech and how they are broken down into their constituents in the acts of listening and reading. In short, psycholinguists seek to understand how language is done. Areas of study Psycholinguistics is an interdisciplinary field. Hence, it is studied by researchers from a variety of different backgrounds, such as psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and speech and language pathology. Psycholinguists study many different topics, but these topics can generally be divided into answering the following questions: (1) How do children acquire language (language acquisition)? (2) How do people process and comprehend language (language comprehension)? (3) How do people produce language (language production)? (4) How do adults acquire/learn a new language (second language acquisition/learning)?
  • 3. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA LANGUAGE ACQUISITION It is interesting to think about your own particular way of learning and to recognise that everyone does not learn the way you do. Teaching and learning activities can be designed and implemented to take principles of learning into account. Language is complicated, difficult for one theory to explain how we learn all aspects of language. Each of the theories explains some aspects of language. Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. It involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an extensive vocabulary. However, learning a first language is something that every normal child does successfully without much need for formal lessons. Language development is a complex and unique human quality but yet children seem to acquire language at a very rapid rate with most children's speech being relatively grammatical by age three (Crain & Lillo-Martin, 1999). Grammar, which is a set of mental rules that characterizes all of the sentences of a language, must be mastered in order to learn a language. Most children in a linguistic community seem to succeed in converging on a grammatical system equivalent to everyone else in the community with few wrong turns, which is quite remarkable considering the complexity of the system. By the time a child utters a first word, according to the Linguistic Society of America, he or she has already spent many months playing around with the sounds and intonations of language, but there is still no one point at which all children learn to talk. Children acquire language in stages and different children reach various stages at different times, although they have one thing in common and that is that children learning the same language will follow an almost identical pattern in the sequence of stages they go through. The stages usually consist of: • cooing- 6 months- use phonemes from every language • babbling- 9 months- selectively use phonemes from their native language • one word utterances- 12 months- start using single words • telegraphic speech- 2 years- multi-word utterances that lack in function • normal speech- 5 years- almost normal developed speech Learning is one of the most important activities in which humans engage. It is at the very core of the educational process, although most of what people learn occurs outside of school. For thousands of years, philosophers and psychologists have sought to understand the nature of learning, how it occurs, and how one person can influence the learning of another person through teaching and similar endeavors. Various theories of learning have been suggested, and these theories differ for a variety of reasons. A theory, most simply, is a combination of different factors or variables woven together in an effort to explain whatever the theory is about. In
  • 4. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA general, theories based on scientific evidence are considered more valid than theories based on opinion or personal experience. In any case, it is wise to be cautious when comparing the appropriateness of different theories. Spend anytime around a baby who is acquiring spoken language, and you soon realize how truly amazing the acquisition of language is. There are many schools of thought that try to explain how children acquire or learn the language, and there is still much debate as to which theory is the correct one. Some theories state that all language must be learned by the child. Others view state that the abstract system of language cannot be learned, but that humans possess an innate language faculty, or an access to what has been called universal grammar. The view that language must be learned was especially popular before 1960 and is well represented by the mentalist theories of Jean Piaget. Likewise, the school of psychology known as behaviorism by B.F. Skinner puts forth the point of view that language is a behavior shaped by conditioned response, hence it is learned. Historical Theories and Models of Language Acquisition The Behaviourist View of Language Learning. Burrhus Frederic Skinner Theory “Give me a dozen healt hy infants, well-formed, and I will guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select, doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar man and thief, regardless of his talents, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors” John Watson. The process of language learning according to behaviorists can be explained in terms of conditioning. The child begins to hear during the 1st year of his life a large number of speech sound produced by his parents. Gradually he learns to associate these sounds with the situations, which accompany them. For instance, the child learns to recognize the sound of endearment, which his mother produces when she feeds him. After sometimes, these sounds become pleasurable in themselves even when they are not accompanied by food. At this stage, conditioning to language has begun. The more frequently the child is exposed to this process of conditioning, the stronger its effect., which the child obtains from the conditioning process. Before long, the child begins to imitate some of speech sounds that he has heard; the child does so in an attempt to control the environment and to invite the attention of his mother. The
  • 5. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA mother may fail to response to the majority of these random signals, but if the child, by chance, produces the vocal stimulus, which the mother recognizes as the appropriate, she responses. When a behavior pattern is rewarded, this deals to the formation of the bound of association. Initially learning takes places through a random association but once it has been formed it is rapidly strengthened through repetition. The child is able to confirm that a certain vocal utterance is the correct stimulus for the desired response; he can then repeat the utterance each time it is needed. On the other hand, a behavior pattern that is not rewarded gets extinguished (will not be repeated by the child). The child will not continue to produce the utterance for which the mother does not take any notice of it. This is said to be the natural process of language learning, which a language-teaching program should try to stimulate. Note: Behaviorism does not distinguish between the language of human being and that of animal. To sum up, the behaviorist theory believes that infants learn oral language from other human role models through a process involving imitation, rewards, and practice. Human role models in an infant´s environment provide the stimuli and rewards. When a child attempts oral language or imitates the sounds or speech patterns they are usually praised and given affection for their efforts. Thus. Praise and affection becomes the rewards. However, the behaviorist theory is criticized for a variety of reasons. If rewards play such a vital component in language development, what about the parent who is inattentive or not present when the child attempts speech? If baby´s language learning were motivated strictly by rewards, would the speech attempts stop merely for lack of rewards. The Cognitive View of Language Learning. Jean Piaget Cognitive theory is concerned with the development of a person's thought processes. It also looks at how these thought processes influence how we understand and interact with the world. The foremost cognitive thinker was Jean Piaget, who proposed an idea that seems obvious now, but helped revolutionize how we think about child development: Children think differently than adults. Piaget then proposed a theory of cognitive development to account for the steps and sequence of children's intellectual development.
  • 6. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA Cognitive theory is a learning theory of psychology that attempts to explain human behavior by understanding the thought processes. The assumption is that humans are logical beings that make the choices that make the most sense to them. Information processing is a commonly used description of the mental process, comparing the human mind to a computer. This explanation of language learning contrasts strongly with the behaviourist account of language learning, which sees language learning as an unconscious, automatic process. Pure cognitive theory largely rejects behaviorism on the basis that behaviorism reduces complex human behavior to simple cause and effect. He proposed that children's thinking does not develop entirely smoothly: instead, there are certain points at which it "takes off" and moves into completely new areas and capabilities. He saw these transitions as taking place at about 18 months, 7 years and 11 or 12 years. This has been taken to mean that before these ages children are not capable (no matter how bright) of understanding things in certain ways, and has been used as the basis for scheduling the school curriculum. Stages of Cognitive Development Stage Characterised by Sensori-motor (Birth-2 years) Differentiates self from objects Recognises self as agent of action and begins to act intentionally: e.g. pulls a string to set mobile in motion or shakes a rattle to make a noise Achieves object permanence: realises that things continue to exist even when no longer present to the sense. Pre-operational (2-7 years) Learns to use language and to represent objects by images and words Thinking is still egocentric: has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others Classifies objects by a single feature: e.g. groups together all the red blocks regardless of shape or all the square blocks regardless of colour Concrete operational (7-11 years) Can think logically about objects and events Achieves conservation of number (age 6), mass (age 7), and weight (age 9) Classifies objects according to several features and can order them in series along a single dimension such as size. Formal operational (11 years and up) Can think logically about abstract propositions and test hypotheses systemtically Becomes concerned with the hypothetical, the future, and ideological problems
  • 7. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA The Nativist Theory. Noam Chomsky Noam Chomsky's innateness or nativist theory proposes that children have an inborn or innate faculty for language acquisition that is biologically determined. Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known and the most influential linguist of the second half of the Twentieth Century. He has made a number of strong claims about language: in particular, he suggests that language is an innate faculty - that is to say that we are born with a set of rules about language in our heads which he refers to as the 'Universal Grammar'. According to Chomsky, infants acquire grammar because it is a universal property of language, an inborn development, and has coined these fundamental grammatical ideas that all humans have as universal grammar (The universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages build. Chomsky gives a number of reasons why this should be so: 1. Children are exposed to very little correctly formed language. When people speak, they constantly interrupt themselves, change their minds, and make slips of the tongue and so on. Yet children manage to learn their language all the same. 2. Children do not simply copy the language that they hear around them. They deduce rules from it, which they can then use to produce sentences that they have never heard before. They do not learn a repertoire of phrases and sayings, as the behaviourists believe, but a grammar that generates infinity of new sentences. When the child begins to listen to his parents, he will unconsciously recognise which kind of a language he is dealing with - and he will set his grammar to the correct one - this is known as 'setting the parameters'. It is as if the child were offered at birth a certain number of hypotheses, which he or she then matches with what is happening around him. He knows intuitively that there are some words that behave like verbs, and others like nouns, and that there is a limited set of possibilities as to their ordering within the phrase. This is not information that he is taught directly by the adults that surround him, but information that is given. This set of language learning tools, provided at birth, is referred to by Chomsky as the Language Acquisition Device or Universal Grammar (the idea of a language organ in our brains that lets us learn language very quickly, particularly during the first 2-3 years of
  • 8. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA life). Nativists argue that without such a biological predisposition, it would be impossible to learn language as quickly and as thoroughly as we do. Our parents didn't teach us how to talk. Yet we learned from them. How can this be? Certainly there must have been a subtle, perhaps intuitive teaching process that neither our parents nor we were aware of. We begin by imitating what we hear from our parents as best we can, repeating random phrases. Our parents in subtle ways punish us for the childish speech errors we make (by not responding, correcting the error, etc.) and reward correct phrases (by responding positively). As our speech improves, our parents respond more positively and less negatively. Essentially, nativists say that the ability to learn language is inborn, whereas behaviorists say that this is entirely learned. Social Interactionist Theory. Lev Vygotsky Vygotsky's social interaction theory incorporates nurture arguments in that children can be influenced by their environment as well as the language input children receive from their care-givers. Although the theories of Skinner, Chomsky and Piaget are all very different and very important in their own contexts, they don't necessarily take into account the fact that children don't encounter language in isolation. The child is a little linguist analyzing language from randomly encountered adult utterances. The interaction theory proposes that language exists for the purpose of communication and can only be learned in the context of interaction with adults and older children. It stresses the importance of the environment and culture in which the language is being learned during early childhood development because this social interaction is what first provides the child with the means of making sense of their own behavior and how they think about the surrounding world. However, one must remember that although our social context provides support for language acquisition, it does not directly provide the knowledge that is necessary to acquire language and this perhaps where a child`s innate abilities come into play. According to Vygotsky, social interaction plays an important role in the learning process and proposed the zone of proximal development (ZPD) where learners construct the new language through socially mediated interaction.
  • 9. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA The cognitive development of children and adolescents is enhanced when they work in their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD for short). To reach the ZPD, children need the help of adults or more competent individuals to support or scaffold them as they are learning new things. The zone of proximal development has been defined as "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 collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, 1978, p86). According to Vygotsky's theory, children can do more with the help and guidance of an adult or other person more experienced person than they can do by themselves. The Zone of Proximal Development defines skills and abilities that are in the process of developing. The ZPD is the range of tasks that one cannot yet perform independently, but can accomplish with the help of a more competent individual. For example, a child might not be able to walk on her own, but she can do so while holding her mother's hand. Since children are always learning new things, the ZPD changes as new skills are acquired. In the example above, the child's mother provided assistance to the child. The mother acted as a scaffold in that situation. Scaffolding is the structure or guidance of a more experienced person. There are many different ways of scaffolding, including breaking the task down into smaller steps, providing motivation, and providing feedback about progress as the person progresses. Principios de la Teoría Conductista Este enfoque, tiene como uno de sus representantes más importante al psicólogo norteamericano Burrhus Frederic Skinner, quien sostiene que todas las conductas del ser humano se rigen por el esquema general de Estímulo-Respuesta. Esto quiere decir que lo que hacemos tiene consecuencias que pueden ser buenas o malas, siendo capaces de anticiparlas para comportarnos de una forma u otra. En lo referente al lenguaje, la Teoría Conductista afirma que es una conducta más que funciona de forma similar a otros comportamientos del ser humano, como el caminar o la capacidad cognitiva, y que existe gracias a una serie de estímulos que contribuyen a la aparición, mantenimiento y desarrollo de la conducta verbal. Para Skinner, el aprendizaje del lenguaje se produciría por simples mecanismos de condicionamiento. En un principio los niños simplemente imitarían, para después asociar determinadas palabras a situaciones, objetos o acciones. El aprendizaje del vocabulario y de la gramática se haría por condicionamiento operante. La gente que se encuentra alrededor del niño recompensará la vocalización de enunciados correctos gramaticalmente, la presencia de nuevas palabras en el vocabulario, la formulación de preguntas y respuestas, etc. y castigará con la desaprobación todas las formas del lenguaje incorrecto, como enunciados agramaticales, palabras obscenas.
  • 10. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA Principios de la Teoría Cognitiva. Enfoque que sostiene que el origen del lenguaje está íntimamente vinculado con el desarrollo cognitivo, de tal forma que el niño aprenderá a hablar sólo cuando acceda cognitivamente a un determinado nivel de ese desarrollo cognitivo. En otras palabras un niño aprenderá a hablar en el momento en que esté preparado cognitivamente para ello. Según esta teoría la adquisición del lenguaje depende del desarrollo de la inteligencia, es decir, se necesita inteligencia para poder adquirir un lenguaje. En esta teoría se busca reflejar cómo se desarrolla nuestra capacidad cognitiva desde los primeros años de vida hasta la madurez intelectual. La inteligencia empieza a desarrollarse desde que nacemos, mucho antes de que el niño hable, por lo que el irá aprendiendo a hablar según su desarrollo cognitivo evolucione y alcance el nivel necesario para ello. Es el pensamiento el que hace posible adquirir un lenguaje, lo que implica que cuando el ser humano nace no posee un lenguaje innato, sino que lo va adquiriendo poco a poco como parte del desarrollo cognitivo. Finalmente Piaget sostiene, que el lenguaje, al igual que otros aprendizajes del ser humano, requiere de los procesos de asimilación y acomodación. Principios de la Teoría Innata Esta teoría se encuentra dentro de la postura nativista y fue formulada por el psicolingüístico Chomsky a finales de los años cincuenta. En ella se postula que los principios del lenguaje son innatos y no aprendidos. El lenguaje se adquiere porque los seres humanos están biológicamente programados para ello. Todos los seres humanos van a desarrollar una lengua porque están preparados para ello, sin importar el grado de complejidad de la lengua. Para explicar su teoría Chomsky propone el concepto de Dispositivo para la adquisición del lenguaje (DAL), que sería algo así como un procesador lingüístico innato donde hay grabada una gramática universal o el conocimiento de reglas presentes en todas las lenguas, es decir, los niños nacen con un sistema de opciones lingüísticas innatas, y es el contexto el que determina cuales se activan o no. El desarrollo del lenguaje está pre programado en cada individuo y comienza a desarrollarse inmediatamente al estar expuesto a la lengua nativa. Por lo que la exposición a la lengua que se utiliza en su entorno es el único requisito necesario para poner en funcionamiento el dispositivo innato y adquirir un lenguaje.
  • 11. MATERIAL PREPARADO POR PATRICIA FIGUEROA LAGOMARSINO PROFESORA DE INGLES, MAGISTER EN GESTION Y PLANIFICACION CURRICULAR INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY, PEDAGOGIA EN INGLES, UPV SEDE LA SERENA Principios de la Teoría de la Interacción Social los interaccionistas opinan que, junto al Dispositivo para la Adquisición del Lenguaje (propuesto por Chomsky y la Teoría Innatista), existe una especie de ayuda que facilita la adquisición del lenguaje, la cual correspondería al entorno del niño y a todas las personas del mismo que interactúan con él. De este modo, en esta teoría podemos hablar de andamiaje Zonas de Desarrollo Próximo. La Teoría Interaccionista tiene como máximos representantes al psicólogo Ruso Lev Vigotsky y al psicólogo Estadounidense Jerome Bruner. El andamiaje es un proceso de enseñanza facilitador del aprendizaje del bebé y del niño. Gracias a él, el niño es dirigido, a través de pequeños pasos que puede entender, hacia lograr el éxito de una tarea completa más difícil. Todo ello teniendo en cuenta la Zona de Desarrollo Próximo del niño. Estas Zonas de Desarrollo Próximo son una forma de ver si el aprendizaje está o no adecuado a los niveles de desarrollo real y potencial del niño. Es decir, la diferencia entre aquello que es capaz de hacer el niño por sí solo y aquello que sería capaz de hacer con la ayuda de otra persona más capaz.