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First Language Acquisition Part 1


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First Language Acquisition Part 1

  1. 1. CHAPTER 13 A First Language Acquisition
  3. 3. Theories on Language Acquisition  Behaviorist Theory (Skinner)  Innatist Theory (Chomsky)  Cognitive Development Theory (Piaget, Vygotsky)  Social Interactionist Theory (Elizabeth Bates, Brian MacWhinney, Jerome Bruner, Catherine Snow)
  4. 4. B.F. Skinner  Behaviorism (Behaviorist Theory)  Mind is seen as a blank slate or tabula rasa  Learning is via imitation and habit formation  Corrections and repetitions are vital  Imitation and practice are primary processes in language development
  5. 5. Noam Chomsky  • Innatist Theory • The Language Acquisition Device (LAD) • Children have an innate knowledge of the basic grammatical structure that is the basis to all languages • The Universal Grammar (UG) • The Critical Period – essential for first language acquisition
  6. 6. Piaget  Cognitive development: assimilation & accommodation = adaptation  Intellectual development, on the other hand, is directly connected to the role of language  However, he considered language secondary to cognition (understanding)  Language is a product of intelligence
  7. 7. Vygostky  Cognitive development within a social context  Language plays an essential role for children‟s development  ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development): children as social beings who develop with help from more capable peers
  8. 8. What comes first? PIAGET VYGOTSKY Cognition! Language!
  9. 9. Social Interactionist Theory • Innate ability and exposure alone do not explain language acquisition • Interaction between caregivers and child is mandatory to language acquisition • Language that is modified to suit the capability of the learner is a crucial element to language acquisition
  10. 10. Caregiver speech  Motherese, child-directed speech, care-giver speech, baby-talk  Frequent use of questions  Exaggerated intonation  Extra loudness  Slower tempo and longer pauses  “baby talk” – is it necessary?
  11. 11. The Productivity of Language  With a limited set of grammar rules and a finite set of terms, it is possible to create an infinite number of utterances  According to Chomsky, only an innate capacity could explain how fast a child acquires language  This only applies if there is no impairment, and if the circumstances are adequate
  12. 12. Acquisition  The identification and application of regularities  Linguistic input being differentiated by the child: Child can tell the difference between sounds like [ba] and [pa]  Output: child can create sounds like [ba] and [pa]
  13. 13. Language is a social tool
  14. 14. More Information B.F. Skinner: conditioning.html Noam Chomsky: Jean Piaget: Lev Vygotsky:
  15. 15. What about your language acquisition?  Were you an early „conversationalist‟ or a so called „chatter box‟?  Do you believe your upbringing was mainly responsible for your current approach to language, or do you credit personality as the main factor in how you relate to language and express yourself?  Is language always the most powerful way to get your thoughts across, or do you think language is „overrated‟ and too much pressure is placed on being able to express ourselves orally?  As a future teacher, how do you rate the importance of your ability to communicate your ideas well?