What Is the Role of Age in First Language Acquisition?
Four main thought processes have been introduced, which provide paradigms in guiding a course in language acquisition. These are imitation, where a child learns from imitating and repeating what they hear, innateness, where a child is born with an innate capacity for learning the human language, cognition, where a child first becomes aware of a concept and only afterwards acquire the correct words and patterns to convey the concept, and lastly and more recently connectionism. However there is also the view that maternal/parental input has a degree of responsibility for language acquisition. The theory behind imitation was highly influential in the 1940’s and 1950’s. It was thought during this time that language was a process of imitation and reinforcement. The view was that children were empty vessels that could be filled with linguistic habits and therefore entered the language learning process. In this process, learning was step by step, imitation, repetition, memorisation, controlled drilling and lastly, reinforcement, where reinforcement could be either positive or negative. The popular belief is that children learn by imitating the utterances heard around them and that imitation has an important role in phonological development. A child’s response is only strengthened by responses, reactions, repetitions and corrections that adults give and thus allows language practice. Limitations that came from the imitation theory resulted, in the 1960’s, in an alternative theory of innateness allowing an alternative account of language acquisition. The main argument was that children were born with an innate capacity to learn and develop their first language. Therefore, innateness makes the process of learning a language much easier than it otherwise would be. Naturally, the human brain is ready for language in the sense that children are regularly exposed to speech and therefore discover and begin to structure principles for language.
gimmedat and allgone. These two styles, referential and expressive, are, in fact, also known as analytic and gestalt.
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