• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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

    Instead Vygotsky emphasises that one can't learn without the verbal interaction and activity with others. For Vygotsky, like Piaget, the relationship between the individual and the social is necessarily relational. However, by placing cultural mediation at the centre of adult cognition and the processes of cognitive development, social origins take

  2. Free essay

    Critically discuss how we can promote postive outcomes for children with teen parents

    The lack of experience affects teens parenting skills and children are more at risk in dangerous situations compared to children of older mothers. Stress and depression is caused by financial problems which effects teen's ability to cope with her child.

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

    The intuitive stage is from age five to seven years of age. Language and hearing still increasing in importance in gathering information. During year one and two at infant school children are seen seated on the carpet for longer periods of time, more often than in foundation while the teacher explains and teaches through language.

  2. 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)."

  1. Discriminative stimulus training and selective stimulus control in rats

    (bright light and low tone), which was the same conditions as the extinction schedule, which is why these results were low. The second ranked probe was number 4 (47), and had the same stimuli as VR16 (dull light and high tone).

  2. Language acquisition is a considerable achievement.

    sentences are rarely corrected by adults, and therefore that children acquire language despite the absence of feedback as to which strings of words are not properly formed. This is known as the 'no negative evidence problem' or the 'logical problem of language acquisition'.

  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. Describe and evaluate one theoretical approach to understanding adult development

    This four-part typology provides a general sketch that not only illustrates the many-fated ways of thinking about adult development but also provides a sufficient way of understanding adult development as a conceptual whole, however, for the purpose of the essay, our interest will remain in the psychological perspective.

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