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FIRST LANGUAGE
  ACQUISITION
DEFINITIONS

 1) “First language” (L1):

2) “Second language” (L2):

3) “Foreign language” (FL)

4) “Target language” (TL)
CHARACTERISTICS OF
        CHILDREN S LANGUAGE

Their 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
              ACQUISITION

1) Behaviorism: Say what I say

2) Innatism: It’s all in your mind

3) Interactionist/Developmental perspectives:

  Learning from inside and out
  Bibliography: Lightbown, Patsy. Spada, Nina. “How languages are learned” 1993
1) BEHAVIORISM: SAY WHAT I SAY


Skinner: 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 environment
would shape the
child’s language
   behaviour.
Children’s imitations are not
          random


 Their imitation is selective and
based 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.
2) INNATISM: IT’S ALL IN YOUR
           MIND
Chomsky (1959) argues that
  behaviorism cannot provide
   sufficient explanations for
children’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 of
the 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 in
programmed                     biological
                  the child
for language                    functions
language     learning to
acquisition      walk.
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 is




The ways in which their
own language make use
  of those principles
They
                                  By matching
children need   discover the       the innate
 access only     structure of    knowledge of
to 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 children
successfully 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 are
exposed to does not contain
           examples
of all the linguistic rules and
            patterns.
Animals cannot learn
to 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
                           PUBERTY

Two 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)
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTFCiG
  I5wJA
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_Oavg
  lDkn0&feature=related
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Tchn_
  DXs4o&feature=related
3) INTERACTIONIST/DEVELOPMENTAL
          PERSPECTIVES:
  LEARNING FROM INSIDE AND OUT
Problems of Innatism:

 Too much emphasis on
     the “final state”
  but not enough on the
developmental aspects of
   language acquisition.
• Language was
         ONE manifestation
of the cognitive and affective ability
        to deal with the world

             • Innatists
dealt with FORMS of the language,
 not with the FUNCTIONAL levels
   of meaning constructed from
      SOCIAL INTERACTION
INTERACTIONISM: Bruner

         Language acquisition
is 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
                       DEVELOPMENT



the environment
  in which they
     develop
MODIFIED SPEECH




      CRUCIAL ELEMENT
in 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
               environment

But 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
  cognitive
understanding

                 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 acquired



through 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        SPEECH
INTERACTION
The Child's 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 Child's 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 Child's 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 Child's 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 REPETITIVE
events of his life, and uses this enjoyment
            to help him learn.
The Child's 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 Child's Learning Strategies
• The child adds words to his speaking
vocabulary more easily IF HE ALREADY
KNOWS HOW TO PRONOUNCE THEM.

• The child IMMEDIATELY USES the
    language, and his SUCCESS IN
      COMMUNICATION BUILDS
            CONFIDENCE.
The Child's Learning Strategies

• The child uses his natural desire TO
PARTICIPATE 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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First language acquisition

  • 1. FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
  • 2. DEFINITIONS 1) “First language” (L1): 2) “Second language” (L2): 3) “Foreign language” (FL) 4) “Target language” (TL)
  • 3. CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN S LANGUAGE Their language development shows a high degree of similarity among children all over the world. • PREDICTABILITY • LEARNING THROUGH IMITATION • CREATIVITY
  • 4. Before First Words - • The earliest vocalizations –Involuntary crying –Cooing and gurgling – showing satisfaction or happiness
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  • 6. Before First Words - “Babbling” –Babies use sounds to reflect the characteristics of the different language they are learning.
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  • 9. First Words Around 12 months (“one-word” stage): –one or two recognizable words (esp. content word); –Single-word sentences.
  • 10. 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”
  • 11. 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.
  • 12. 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.
  • 13. • Development of Metalinguistic Awareness • Development of Vocabulary
  • 14. THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO L1 ACQUISITION 1) Behaviorism: Say what I say 2) Innatism: It’s all in your mind 3) Interactionist/Developmental perspectives: Learning from inside and out Bibliography: Lightbown, Patsy. Spada, Nina. “How languages are learned” 1993
  • 15. 1) BEHAVIORISM: SAY WHAT I SAY Skinner: language behaviour is the production of correct responses to stimuli through reinforcement.
  • 16. Language learning is the result of:  imitation (word-for-word repetition),  practice (repetitive manipulation of form), feedback on success (positive reinforcement)  habit formation.
  • 17. The quality and quantity of the language that the child hears as well as the consistency of the reinforcement offered by others in the environment would shape the child’s language behaviour.
  • 18. Children’s imitations are not random Their imitation is selective and based on what they are currently learning.
  • 19. 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.
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  • 21. 2) INNATISM: IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND
  • 22. Chomsky (1959) argues that behaviorism cannot provide sufficient explanations for children’s language acquisition for the following reasons:
  • 23. –Children come to know more about the structure of their language than they could be expected to learn on the basis of the samples of language they hear.
  • 24. – 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.
  • 25. Children are In the same Language biologically way of other develops in programmed biological the child for language functions
  • 26. language learning to acquisition walk.
  • 27. 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).
  • 28. If children are pre- equipped with UG. What they have to learn is The ways in which their own language make use of those principles
  • 29. They By matching children need discover the the innate access only structure of knowledge of to 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.
  • 30. 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.
  • 31. Evidence used to support Chomsky’s innatist position: Virtually all children successfully 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).
  • 32. –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.
  • 33. The language children are exposed to does not contain examples of all the linguistic rules and patterns.
  • 34. Animals cannot learn to manipulate a symbol system as complicated as the natural language of a 3- or 4-year-old child.
  • 35. Children acquire grammatical rules without getting explicit instruction.
  • 36. 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
  • 37. ONLY BY STRONG PUBERTY Two versions AFTER PUBERTY IT WILL BE MORE WEAK DIFFICULT AND INCOMPLETE
  • 38. 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)
  • 39. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTFCiG I5wJA • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_Oavg lDkn0&feature=related • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Tchn_ DXs4o&feature=related
  • 40. 3) INTERACTIONIST/DEVELOPMENTAL PERSPECTIVES: LEARNING FROM INSIDE AND OUT
  • 41. Problems of Innatism: Too much emphasis on the “final state” but not enough on the developmental aspects of language acquisition.
  • 42. • Language was ONE manifestation of the cognitive and affective ability to deal with the world • Innatists dealt with FORMS of the language, not with the FUNCTIONAL levels of meaning constructed from SOCIAL INTERACTION
  • 43. INTERACTIONISM: Bruner Language acquisition is 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.
  • 44. the innate learning ability of children LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT the environment in which they develop
  • 45. MODIFIED SPEECH CRUCIAL ELEMENT in language acquisition process
  • 46. 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
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  • 49. Developmental psychologists attribute more importance to the environment But they recognize a powerful learning mechanism in the human brain.
  • 50. PIAGET “Children’s cognitive development determines their language development.”
  • 51. The interaction between the child the developing cognitive understanding things which can be observed, touched, and manipulated
  • 52. Language was one of a number of symbol systems developed in childhood, rather than a separate module of the mind.
  • 53. Language can be used to represent knowledge that children have acquired through physical interaction with the environment.
  • 54. VYGOTSKY Sociocultural theory of human mental processing. He argued that language develops primarily from social interaction.
  • 55. 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.
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  • 57. 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.
  • 58. ESSENTIALLY THOUGHT INTERANALIZED SPEECH EMERGED IN SOCIAL SPEECH INTERACTION
  • 59. The Child's 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).
  • 60. The Child's 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.
  • 61. The Child's 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.
  • 62. The Child's 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 REPETITIVE events of his life, and uses this enjoyment to help him learn.
  • 63. The Child's 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.
  • 64. The Child's Learning Strategies • The child adds words to his speaking vocabulary more easily IF HE ALREADY KNOWS HOW TO PRONOUNCE THEM. • The child IMMEDIATELY USES the language, and his SUCCESS IN COMMUNICATION BUILDS CONFIDENCE.
  • 65. The Child's Learning Strategies • The child uses his natural desire TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LIFE AROUND HIM to help him learn new language. • The child brings TREMENDOUS INGENUITY to the task of learning.