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Drawing on as many relevant theories as you can, explain how children under five develop their use of language

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Drawing on as many relevant theories as you can, explain how children under five develop their use of language There are numerous theories depicting the development of language in relation to children under five. At a young age children's minds are extremely susceptible, so this may be a factor as to why there are so many theories present. A theorist whose proposal is crucial to the first five years of a child's life is Eric Lenneburg (1967), who alleged that language has to be acquired within a critical period within the first five years. There is evidence to back this theory as case studies of children where human input has been limited in the vital first years of their lives, show that although some language processes can be acquired, full grammatical fluency is never achieved. Another theory determining the development in language of children under five is a study that was undertaken in the 1960's by Jean Berko and Roger Brown, looking at children's phonological errors to see how they link to their understanding of words and ideas, as well as their ability to imitate the language surrounding them. ...read more.


For example, a children's game that Bruner suggests is highly educational is 'Peek-A-Boo' as it exercises some substantially important linguistic aspects such as turn-taking, formulaic utterances and syntax. The game "Peek-A-Boo" would also be relevant to theorist Jean Piaget in testing 'object permanence', as the game implements that an object still exists even when it is no longer in sight. Opposing Chomsky and Bruner's views, B.F Skinner's theory seems quite the reverse as he reflects that children imitate adults in their language and develop from positive reinforcement through attention and praise of naming the article in question correctly or from negative reinforcement concluding from not being understood accurately if at all, or being deprived of positive comments. Skinner's views also oppose the findings of Jean Berko and Roger Brown (1960) stated earlier through their study on the child referring to a plastic fish as 'fis', as, if Skinner's theory was applied then the child would have been able to imitate the adult's pronunciation correctly. ...read more.


They give information, asking and answering questions, requesting directly and indirectly, suggesting, offering, stating and expressing.' A theorist whose studies are primarily based upon a child's first words is Katherine Nelson (1973). Katherine Nelson identified four main, integral categories for a child's first words, of which were; naming (things or people - sixty percent of a child's first words), actions/events (the second largest group), describing/modifying things (the third largest group) and finally, personal/social words (accounting for approximately eight percent of the sample). Taking into account all the theories present on children's language development there are a lot of different views on how children acquire language and many support yet also contradict each other. In my personal opinion I believe that social interaction and imitation have a huge influence on an infant's progression yet there are also many aspects that add to this to help children acquire language, even though I believe that social interaction is one of the strongest factors (my view is in relation to when adults learn a different language, as they learn through being taught and then putting their knowledge in to practise through social interaction). ...read more.

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