Theories of Language Acquisition

Hazel Meades
Mind Map by Hazel Meades, updated more than 1 year ago
Hazel Meades
Created by Hazel Meades over 6 years ago


A Levels English Language (Language Acquisition) Mind Map on Theories of Language Acquisition, created by Hazel Meades on 04/09/2014.

Resource summary

Theories of Language Acquisition
1 Noam Chomsky (1950s-present)
1.1 Babies are born with an innate knowledge of language structure
1.2 Unique LAD (Language Acquisition Device) enable us to learn language.
1.3 Genie and feral children support the critical period hypothesis.
1.3.1 Critical period hypothesis = language needs to be acquired within a certain time frame.
1.4 Some interaction is necessary for language development
1.5 Children stop overgeneralising and learn to use language correctly.
1.6 Children deprived of social contact can't achieve complete communicative competence.
1.7 Most linguists believe there must be something innate in a child.
1.7.1 What is innate? Content Primary linguistic data (speech around child) Innate specific knowledge about language Internal grammar Speech Process Primary linguistic data (speech around child) Innate puzzle solving equipment Internal grammar Speech
1.8 Children internalise language rules and overgeneralise e.g: walked, ambled, throwed
1.9 Wug experiment (1985) - Jean Berko-Gleason
1.9.1 Supports Chomsky's idea of LAD
1.9.2 Gave 4-5 yr olds a picture of an imaginary creature called a wug 3/4s of children formed the regular plural "wugs" when shown a picture of more than one creature.
1.10 Nativist approach - humans have an inbuilt capacity to acquire language
1.11 Universal grammar AKA linguistic universals - the explanation that all world languages share the principles of grammar despite surface differences in lexis and phonology.
2 B.F Skinner (1957)
2.1 Children learn to speak through imitation of parents
2.2 Children receive rewards/punishments according to the accuracy of utterances.
2.3 His theory has only been tested on animals.
2.4 Children do more than just imitate
2.4.1 They can hear ungrammatical spoken language but learn correct language
2.5 Children don't respond to correction and it might slow development.
2.6 They imitate but don't necessarily understand meaning.
2.7 Wrote Verbal Behaviour in 1957
2.8 Operant conditioning theory
3 Lev Vygotsky (1962)
3.1 Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice.
3.2 ZPD = Zone of Proximal Development
3.2.1 Level of development attained when children engage in social behaviour.
3.2.2 Gap between what they know and what they can potentially achieve via socialisation with peers/adults.
3.3 First utterances are to communicate but once mastered they become internalised and allow inner speech.
3.4 Cognitive development is limited to a certain range at any given age
3.5 Social interactionist theory
3.6 You socialise and it helps develop your cognitive abilities.
3.7 MKO = More Knowledgeable Other
3.7.1 Someone with a better understanding than the learner.
4 Bruner
4.1 Brought Vygotsky's ideas into the Western world.
4.2 Crucial techniques: pre-verbal exchanges, games and ritualised scenarios
4.2.1 Scenarios e.g: eating a meal, having a bath Child gradually moves from passive to active and can predict language because of the consistent context.
4.2.2 Adult and infant can have conversations even if the child's non-verbal.
4.2.3 Scaffolding = interactional support structured by the adult to help the child develop.
4.2.4 Language Acquisition Support System = children need social intervention to learn things like turn-taking, politeness ect. 4 phase structure in the mother's interaction with the child. 1. Gaining attention 2. Query 3. Label 4. Feedback
4.2.5 Adults change language to scaffold child's learning through Child-Directed Speech
5 Piaget
5.1 Cognitive theory
5.2 Children are born with basic mental structure which enables them to acquire language
5.3 Focuses on development. Doesn't address learning.
5.4 Gradual increase in number and complexity of behaviours
5.5 It's about developmental stages
5.6 Children will learn to speak "naturally" with little intervention.
5.7 Language development goes hand in hand with intellectual development
5.7.1 E.g: must understand past tense concept to use it correctly
5.7.2 E.g: acquiring morphemes beginning with the participle "-ing", then "in", "on, "-s" and finally forms of the verb "to be".
5.8 Berko-Brown (1960)
5.8.1 The fis phenomenon The child knows what the correct pronounciation for fish is but can't articulate it The child responds to fish but not fis Supports the idea that children will produce certain forms when they're "ready".
6 How should I write about theory?
6.1 "The data appears to challenge the ideas of..."
6.2 Virtuous error - the mistakes children make by overgeneralisation. They've learnt a rule but are applying it in the wrong situation.
6.3 Start with data and then say what theorists would think
6.4 Behaviourist approach (Skinner)
6.5 Nativist approach (Chomsky) - about innateness
6.6 Use epistemic modal verbs ie: could
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