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Linguistics Acquisition Essay

2949 words - 12 pages


Language and linguistic ability and knowledge development is a gradual process that takes place among children as they grow up. Languages are composed of sounds that are assembled to form words, which are combined to form sentences, which are arranged to convey ideas (SEDL, 2013). It is therefore a process that a child’s young and developing brain is exposed to at birth and is with time expected to learn and master. This therefore needs to be understood whether they are born with some already structured ability that guides their learning process ...view middle of the document...

He for one was against the behaviorists’ theory that children learnt by trying to imitate the speeches of adults and were reinforced to improve on their inadequacies by rewards or punishments (Macaulay, 2006). The theory insinuated that as time goes by and as children grow and develop, they start to notice and imitate whatever they saw. This in effect helped then communicate by repeating words that they heard said within their environs more often. Chomsky though refuted this arguing that there was no way children could learn a very complex aspect of life such as language by simply imitating (Macaulay, 2006).
In his theory though Chomsky believes that after babies are born with the LAD capability in them, which enables a born baby to understand and embrace their native language. His theory therefore can be classified as nativists’ theory of language. He is against the theory that babies learn by imitation saying that; “Children are exposed to inaccurately formed language since people interrupt themselves, mix up languages sometimes, get contradicting information in their conversations but the children in the end still learn” (Linden, 2008). This he says were it that children imitated their adults to learn the native languages then would grow up really mixed up in their conversations and may not even understand what they are saying or being told. Therefore there has to be something that enables then to distinguish and identify the right structure of the language system and adapt it.

His other argument against the behaviourists theory of learning languages in children is that by simply imitating, the children would have very limited room for expanding their knowledge of languages. He says that the children instead learn also the rules around the structural formation of the language they hear and form other new sentences. Learning through watching and imitating would therefore he believes limits their linguistic capabilities to that of the people they are around while growing up (Keenan & Evans, 2009). Children as it is are able to expand their knowledge of a language and even have the capability to learn more than one at a time. Expanding their knowledge not only limiting it to the sentences they had said by their caretakers is in itself according tp Chomsky enough to dispute the behavourists’ theory of linguistics.
Another theory about the nature in which children acquire their linguistic knowledge is the interactionist theory. This theory believes that through the biological components and their ability in human being to develop and adapt, children are therefore able so interact socially or otherwise and learn. This learning prrocess enables then to learn the language being spoken within their visinity and the sorrounding environment in which they are being brought up in (Shulman & Capone, 2010). This theory belives that children depend on their parents and the sorrounding to learn languages, and that they cannot learn without it....

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