Language Acquisition Theories

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Many theories seek to explain language development in human beings. These theories are developed from both linguistic and psychological backgrounds. Language acquisition theories, therefore, depend on ideas adopted from these two wide fields. The theories specifically inform on some of the main reasons why human develop and learn a language. Language acquisition is a critical affair since each theory functions to prove the other not valid. Behaviourism and nativism are two theories that explain the acquisition of language in human beings. These two theories provide different perspectives in how human beings learn language. This essay will provide a comparison between these theories. The focus is on explaining the theories in regards to second…show more content…
Language is a complex form of communication. Language acquisition, therefore, is put on a different light when comparing the two main theories, behaviourism and nativism. These two schools of thought differ majorly in the presentation of nature and nurture. Behaviourism, a theory developed by B.F skinner explains that language acquisition is through nurture (Gass, 80). According to skinner, a child learns or acquires a new language basing on experience and reoccurring events. The environment, therefore, is a key player in language acquisition. It is in this respect that behaviourism theory maintains that what happens for a first language acquisition is the same for the second language acquisition. For an older individual to acquire a second language, the environment and experience to reoccurring events matter. The pattern developed by behaviourist thinkers is that, when the child grows with the parents who constantly communicate through a language, the child learns the language. Additionally, the pattern repeats in learning a second…show more content…
Noam Chomsky, the theorist behind nativism, argues that learning a first language depends on inherent characteristics. From the theory by nativists, a child has the inherent ability to learn and the capability to innovate a first language. They justify the theory by explaining that most times children talk about things they have never been trained to say. Clearly, the inherent ability and capacity to learn a language applies to learning a second language. The nativist approach denies the behaviourists the notion that learning a language is a response developed from the environment through a
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