Language and CognitionTheories of Language AcquisitionThe nature vs. nurture debate extends to the topic of language acquisition. Today, most researchers acknowledge that both nature and nurture play a role in language acquisition. However, some researchers emphasize the influences of learning on language acquisition, while others emphasize the biological influences. Receptive Language before Expressive LanguageChildren’s ability to understand language develops faster than their ability to speak it. Receptive language is the ability to understand language, and expressive language is the ability to use language to communicate. If a mother tells her fifteen-month-old child to put the toy back in the toy chest, he may follow her instructions even though he can’t repeat them himself.Environmental Influences on Language AcquisitionA major proponent of the idea that language depends largely on environment was the behaviorist B. F. Skinner (see pages 145 and 276 for more information on Skinner). He believed that
This is the end of the preview.
access the rest of the document.