• 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. Communication and Language Assignment - Children's language development

    (2000) Introducing Psychological Research Hampshire: Palgrave Hoff-Ginsberg, E (1997) Language Development California, USA: International Thomson Publishing Snow, C (1986) Conversations with Children in Fletcher, P and Garman, M (eds) Language Acquisition Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Wells, G (1986) The Meaning Makers: Children Learning Language and Using Language to Learn London: Hodder and Stoughton Winyard, S (1996)

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

    Rather, Vygotsky said that make-believe play has social origins. Society, he believes, provides the child with opportunities to represent culturally meaningful activities in play, and make-believe play, like other cognitive functions, is learned under the supportive guidance of experts. * THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE A main area Piaget and Vygotsky are both concerned about is the relationship between language and thought.

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

    "What they do is very important from the earliest days of the child's life, not only in terms of the child's emotional security but also in terms of intellectual growth." (Janet Miller 2003:98) There is evidence that babies imitate their mother's mouth movements from the age of about a month,

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

    For instance, if a child makes faces at the teacher in class, the laughter of the other students might cause to reinforce his behavior. If the teacher reprimands the child by means of making him/her write, "I will not make faces" one hundred times on the board, that particular child might keep away from such antics in the future.

  1. Student number: 0373390

    Hall and McGregory (2000) found that children with DS who were integrated in mainstream education at an early age had established stronger peer friendships at a later school age than those denied this opportunity. Likewise mainstream pupils are also more likely to learn about acceptance, tolerance, and compassion whilst sharing the same environment as children with learning disabilities.

  2. This essay intends to evaluate major theories of Piaget, Chomsky and Vygotsky

    Equilibrium is the state of feeling steady and in control. Equilibrium comes from modifying our cognitive structures when in a state of disequilibrium to create equilibrium. Schemas are ways in which our knowledge is stored. They are like computer files in our brain.

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

    This also applies in college, in the past I have viewed teachers as being authoritative, powerful and better than me, but I experience the facilitators as being real, genuine and open. The second core condition is unconditional positive regard. This is an attitude that is held by the counsellor, it

  2. The Acquisition of Language

    One is made to wonder that if language is truly derived from Darwinian natural selection, then finding it in our closest relative, i.e. the chimpanzee, must not be difficult. However, in several famous but controversial studies, chimpanzees have been taught to use basic hand-signs and to understand some spoken commands

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