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

"Variable forms are difficult to acquire". Discuss Until the late 1960's it was still the largely subscribed view that children's language acquisition was, on the main part, innate and occurred independently

Extracts from this document...


"Variable forms are difficult to acquire". Discuss Until the late 1960's it was still the largely subscribed view that children's language acquisition was, on the main part, innate and occurred independently from the social context and surroundings in which the child was brought up. However there have been movements in recent years to account for the effects that parents and other caregivers have on the linguistic development of a child (Romaine, 1986: 159). This paper intends to briefly look at the standard accepted view of acquisition of variation; the variationist view, which considers the social context; and to place these viewpoints into a current frame of reference by examining some contemporary studies. It intends to examine the studies in relation to acquisition of variable forms in early childhood and in adolescence. The mainstream view of acquisition of variation is that during the early years of childhood, the main period of acquisition, most of the linguistic input comes from the primary care givers, i.e. the mother and father. For this reason "motherese" has long been the main focus of first language acquisition studies (Kerswill, 1996:181). The conventional view of first language acquisition is that during the first year of life a child will gain control over their speech organs and begin to acquire speech patterns. ...read more.


where data was collected from three children of pre school age in Trinidad. The data was analysed for stylistic variation between the Trinidad Creole, TC, and Standard English, SE, in the Verb Phrase which shows marked differences between TC and SE. It was shown that all three children shifted their speech style according to situation and addressee; more formal situations such as when the child was at school or during an interview required more use of the SE forms but informal situations such as when the child was at play or in a relaxed environment allow for the use of variants from TC (Youssef, 1993:257-274). This supports the idea that children learn to use variable forms at the same time as they learn to use the standard variant. Not only this they learn which is appropriate in which situation at the same time. The variationist view of acquisition of variation also supports the view that "the dialect transmission period begins early - before the age of maximal peer group influence" (Roberts, 1997b:249). This means that a child growing up in a particular speech community will in turn speak like that community, following its rules and speaking with its dialect. ...read more.


From this they also learn which variant is appropriate in which social situation. At this early stage children acquire new variants with relative ease. After this stage children move into formal education and start to use more of the dialectal variants, they become distinct from their parents in their norm use. At this stage children are still able to acquire some variant forms, rules and oppositions but this is much more difficult than it was previously. Once children reach the age of adolescence they struggle to acquire new forms despite adapting their speech style to be like the social group they have aligned themselves with. After the age of sixteen, at the very latest, they are considered adults in terms of language acquisition. The only changes which take place from now on are word changes. This paper has examined standard accepted view of acquisition of variation and the variationist view; it has looked at the contemporary studies in relation to acquisition of variable forms in early childhood and in adolescence. From the evidence examined it can be concluded that variable forms are easily acquired in early childhood, during the first stage of language acquisition. As the children age it becomes increasingly difficult form them to acquire the different forms and by the age of sixteen they no longer have the ability to acquire variant forms. ...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 Social 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 Social Psychology essays

  1. Discuss the statement that adolescence is a period of Storm and Stress.

    audience; the feeling of constant scrutiny, the personal fable; regarding one's thoughts and feelings as unique, self-consciousness and feelings of invulnerability; which can lead to risk-taking behaviour. This egocentric thinking of early adolescence is diminishes by sixteen due to shared experience with their peers.

  2. Is 'Adolescence turmoil' fact or fiction? Discuss?

    find their own identity or 'who they are' and discovering that they can be independent from their parents. Rutter et al (1976) surveyed the entire population of the Isle of Wight and found that although 'adolescent turmoil' was 3 times as much higher in teenagers with deviant scores, he showed

  1. Attachment Theory: Early childhood attachment and its influence on adult romantic relationships

    The remainder of infants, however, were categorized as either anxious/ambivalent or avoidant. The secure style of attachment characterised those infants who effectively employed their caregiver as a support when distressed (Ainsworth et al., 1978). The anxious/ambivalent style of attachment described infants who amalgamated attachment behaviours with overt communication of disapproval toward their primary caregiver when distressed (Ainworth et al., 1978).

  2. How influential are parents' child-rearing styles on the development of their children?

    Watson (1957, cited in Jersild, 1968) found that child rearing styles had no effect on anxiety in children. In adolescence authoritarian children are still less well adjusted, however they do better at school and participate less in anti-social acts than children of undemanding parents (Berk, 2000).

  1. How important are ethics and social responsibility?

    Given the complexity of the phenomenon under study, future research should investigate other determinants specified in marketing ethics models, such as moral philosophies, personal values, religion, professional environment, and organizational and industrial characteristics. Among demographic variables, education could be an important determinant but was not included because of a lack of conceptual equivalence.

  2. What Is The Difference Between Agencies Of Formal And Informal Social Control And Evaluate ...

    The most serious two crimes are murder and rape. The sentence for rape can be criticised as it is usually about eight years and this does not appear to be a heavy enough sentence for that crime. Crimes such as burglary, fraud and shoplifting tend to have light sentences, either

  1. Genetic and environmental influence in human development.…. Discuss.

    Cadoret ('78) studies 126 adopted children, eight of whom were born to a parent with manic depression and adopted by a non-depressive family. Three out of the eight developed a major depressive disorder compared to only eight in the remaining one hundred and eighteen children.

  2. Evaluation of qualitiative paper - phenomenology

    and considers various applications in which the learning from her study could be applied. Moustakas (1994) recommends a very specific formula in the organisation of a research report. Required sections are: Introduction and statement of topic and outline, Review of relevant literature, Conceptual framework of the model, Methodology, Presentation of data ending with Summary, implications and Outcomes.

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