Language Development handout

Language Development handout - Language Development Three...

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Language Development Three perspectives: Behaviorist perspective : B.F. Skinner (1950s) Babbling that sounds like words becomes reinforced (operant conditioning); nonsense babbling is ignored and is extinguished Imitation and reinforcement are keys to language development Skinner was wrong b/c parents respond to all babbling Nativist perspective: Noam Chomsky (1950s) A contemporary and strong critic of Skinner’s Believed language was guided by an innate language acquisition device (LAD) that contains a set of rules common to all languages LAD tells babies what characteristics of language to look for in speech that they hear As evidence for LAD, Chomsky noted that all children go through a stage around 3 years old where they overregularize verbs. This shows that they’re making rule-based grammatical errors, not random errors. More evidence: babies prefer human voices to all other sounds; children everywhere reach major language milestones in a similar sequence Problems: What is this LAD? Where is it? Toddlers don’t have a good understanding of grammatical rules, as Chomsky believed. They don’t acquire language as quickly as Chomsky thought. Progress is steady and gradual, not immediate. More learning and discovery than he thought.
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  • Spring '13
  • JohnRoop

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