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

Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Chomsky's approach to Language Acquisition.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Chomsky's approach to Language Acquisition. Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known and influential linguist of the second half of the Twentieth Century. He has made a number of claims about language, in particular he suggests that language is an innate discipline in that we are born with a set of rules about language in our heads which he refers to as the 'Universal Grammar'. The universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages build. In Chomsky's early work, this takes the form of an innate structure called the Language Acquisition Device (LAD). Psychologists have produced several accounts of infant language acquisition, which differ in their underlying theoretical perspectives. Behavioural perspectives in Language acquisition identified a sequence in language development. Skinner (1957) argued that language was learned by the child through the process of operant conditioning, a process of stimulus-response where a result occurs as a consequence of actions and that the environment in which a child lives reinforces behaviour. ...read more.


He argued that Skinner's theory implied that children learn entirely through trial and error, that they try out possible utterances which they adopt if approved and reject if they do not. He argued that children acquire language in such a short space of time, acquiring complex grammatical rules and extensive vocabulary that would not have been possible through a trial and error system. Chomsky proposed that the child has a language acquisition device (LAD) which is an inherent mechanism allowing the child to hear the spoken language around it to reveal the basic principles of the language. In 1983 J Bruner brought together the two previous perspectives on Language acquisition to form the Interactionist Perspective, which consisted of the two elements, cognitive and social interaction between the child and the environment. He argued that parents provide their children with a language acquisition support system (LASS) which is a collection of strategies that parents use to facilitate their children's acquisition of language. ...read more.


undertook a study of a child born to deaf parents. This child was surrounded by language in the form of television and radio but received no spoken language or LASS from his parents. The child only succeeded in acquiring language once he was referred to a speak therapist. As soon as the child received the social interaction of language he developed very quickly. This disproved Chomsky's views on the biological perspective. Although there have been many critics of Chomsky, many of his views have appeared in later research into the interactionist perspective. The focus of attention on features of languages common to all languages is one of the strengths of Chomsky's approach, the idea of universal grammar. The theory that a child does not simply copy the language that they hear around them, they deduce rules from it, which they can then use to create sentences that they have never heard before. Many studies of child directed speech, research undertaken by Catherine Snow (1979), show that speech to young children is slow, clear, grammatical and repetitious, supporting the work of Chomsky that children are able to learn without the social interaction. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Developmental Psychology 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 University Degree Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Parallel Language Development in Deaf and Hearing Children

    Jamiesom (1995) also concluded that children of deaf mothers use S more mature form of private sign. Her study showed that their signs were more task oriented and were used to guide and monitor their performance. In addition to the greatly reduced frequency of private sign among deaf children of

  2. Discuss, Compare and Contrast Piaget and Vygotsky’s Learning Theories.

    He believed that through pretending, children practice and strengthen newly acquired representational schemes. Piaget believed that initially children possess a number of separate schemes that they use in play. He said that one way a child could co-ordinate and develop more complex schemes was to engage in sociodramatic play.

  1. Psychological and Sociological Perspectives On Human Development and Behaviour.

    just smile back...From about eight months onwards the young child begins to spread his or her sociability to other people, though will often seek the reassurance and closeness of the most meaningful person if threatened or unsure (or hungry or uncomfortable or tired)."

  2. The person-centred approach as it is 'for me'

    But the acceptance without conditions that I have felt towards me, within my group has really touched me and I value it so much. I have found that as a result of this acceptance I feel free to be myself "...to be oneself is worth a high price."

  1. Student number: 0373390

    They would have to be very supportive and co-operative towards their son's development. The aim is to help John to develop to his own greatest potential not for him to be driven beyond his capability. Research indicates that placing stress on children with DS usually leads to poorer performance rather than better.

  2. Addiction- the person beyond the mask

    no longer need to deny how they feel to themselves and can talk it through with their counsellor. As a counsellor it could be a challenging task to work, perhaps in an agency, with clients that have addictions, and it is really important for me to have the belief that

  1. B.F. Skinner's Radical BehaviorismIntroductionThe utilization of rewards to modify classroom behavior is properly documented ...

    Antagonists of radical behaviorism frequently feel just as strongly. Nevertheless, B.F. Skinner has observed that classical conditioning didn't give an explanation for the behavior the majority of us are interested in (just like writing a book or riding a bike).

  2. For this assignment I will produce a case study showing how psychological theories can ...

    an honest way and be truthful and open in their methods and behaviour Autonomy means independence. In research situations it covers topics such as respecting clients rights to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to participate in the research investigation.

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