• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically evaluate one theory of language development. Chomsky argues that language is a formal system

Extracts from this document...


Critically evaluate any one theory of language development Every species in the world has some form of communication system; enabling them to communicate with each other using signs and signals. None however, have the complexities of the human communication system; language. It is thought that humans are the only species which have language, this allows us to externalise our thoughts and feelings, in turn enabling us to interact with others around us. As language plays such an important part in our world it is understandable why so much research has been carried out in an attempt to understand how language develops. Further understanding on this topic could have considerable implications for education and child development. Three main theories have emerged from this research. The first is that the child learns language from the surrounding environment, the second is that every child has an innate ability that enables to acquire language and the third is that language develops as the cognitive ability of the child develops. This essay intends to look at the biological approach to language development, it will do so by examining research that both supports and rejects an innate ability for language in infants. It is thought that every human goes through universal stages of development. Pre-linguistic, holographic, telegraphic, simple sentences, 3 - 4 years, early school years and the middle childhood stage can be seen in every child across a variety of countries and cultures. ...read more.


He says that 'complex language is universal because children actually reinvent it'. This can be seen in labourers who have been imported into the sugar cane industry from China, Japan and Korea, who developed a pidgin language as a way of communication (Bickerton, 1990, in Smith, Cowie and Blades, 2003). The language that the labourers used had no grammatical structure and no consistent word order yet when their children were studied, despite only being exposed to the parent's speech, they used grammatical rules when talking. This suggests that the ability for language is innate as language seems to develop itself and translate non-grammatical sentences into grammatical sentences. It also shows that the child cannot be simply imitating the language of those around. This idea can be found in other societies as well as it has been found that most adult speech is not grammatical and that despite the parents disregard for grammar that the children still learn a grammatically correct language (Slobin, 1975, in Gross, 1999). Evidence to suggest reinvention of an existing language has also been replicated in deaf children. Children who had only been introduced to signs that the parents devised to communicate with them, were found to spontaneously devise their own signs and language (derived from the original signs) when grouped with other deaf children, (Kegl et al. ...read more.


It is clear from evidence provided by psychologists (Chomsky, 1957, Goldin -Meadow and Feldman, 1977 and Brown and Bellugi, 1964 etc.) that an innate ability is involved in the acquisition of language, however this does not explain all features of language development. Chomsky's biological approach focuses mainly on the acquisition of grammar and the rules employed to develop grammar in language. More recently Piaget has claimed that it is important to look at communication and understanding of language and not to focus solely on grammatical competence, (In Smith, Cowie and Blades, 2003). Piaget notes that in the first two years of development intellectual ability relies on sensori-motor skills not from symbols such as language. Piaget believes that the understanding and rules of language developed from the child's cognitive system, (Cromer, 1974, in Smith, Cowie and Blades, 2003). It is more likely that it is a combination of innate preparedness and cognitive ability that together produce the development of the language system that we communicate with. 1,667 words REFERNCES: Golinkoff, R. M. (1984).The transition from pre-linguistic to linguistic communication. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Gross, R. (1999) Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour. (3rd Edition) Hodder and Stoughton. Smith, P. K, Cowie, H. and Blades, M. (2003). Understanding Children's Development. (4th Edition) Oxford: Blackwell. Taylor, I. (1976). Introduction to Psycholinguistics. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Watson. Wells, G and Nicholls, J. (1985). Language and Learning: An Interactional perspective. The Falmer Press ?? ?? ?? ?? PS52004A: Language Development Anna Lacey 11/11/04 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Language Aquisition Notes

    5 star(s)

    Short, declarative sentences common. Grammatically incomplete sentences. Long strings of sentences joined with simple conjunctions. o Stage 3 - Differentiation Stage (8 - mid teens) * Child becomes more aware of differences between writing and speech. Increasing confidence. More complicated sentences and constructions. Reading and Child Lang Acq * Children's books also relate to prominent aspects of a child's life, eg.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Investigating how language has changed in children's literature; in relation to interaction between ...

    5 star(s)

    gap between Malory Towers being written, and School Girl Chums being published. The same can be said for "Miss Potts" language. Although "Harry Potter's" lexis shows the greatest change, as it is the most modern, "Professor Dumbledore's" speech still retains a slightly archaic feel.

  1. Peer reviewed

    The Language used in School Reports

    3 star(s)

    In a recent report, "must" is used less, however there is an example "Lucy must continue to maintain the level of effort she has put into her work this year." A reason for more common use of the modal "can" being included in modern reports may be the increasing need

  2. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    I am not looking to delve straight into a heavy serious relationship but who knows what may happen! Appendix 6 tafka249 Kinda tall, sorta dark, and I'll leave the handsome bit up to you... 25-year-old man Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom seeking women 20-30 within 30 miles of Stalybridge, Greater

  1. Theories Of Language Development - Chomsky and Skinner

    The deep structure refers to the "real" meaning, which is "please would you make me a jam sandwich from bread and jam". Individual languages use different sounds and have special rules of grammar. Chomsky called these individual rule surface structures.

  2. How do Politicians gain support through language? AQA English coursework

    Both metaphors work to imply that Blair and Labour love their position in government and will fight to keep it. Charles Kennedy uses metaphors to explain why his party is better than the Conservative party, for example, the main clause "we leapfrogged the Conservatives" suggests that they have beaten them

  1. A one to one interaction with an elderly woman Aunty Emily to try through ...

    During my interaction with Emily I never touched her because I do not know her really well although touching could work on people you are close to because you are close to each other and you can predict their reaction towards it.

  2. The Dutch Attack on Landguard Fort - 2nd July 1667

    but there was a ditch around the perimeter of the fort making attack very difficult. The Dutch soldiers were expecting their ships to bombard the fort and then they would go in a finish what was left of the English.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work