The Differences Of Burrhus Frederic Skinner And Aram Noam Chomsky

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1. INTRODUCTION The debate of how language can be acquired has been ongoing for decades now. There have been arguments on how language and cognition is by nature, that is, it is natural and not learned, it is something genetic and innate and certainly not man-made. However some argue that language is acquired through nurture; it is learnt according to the environmental influences and by the society in which one lives in. In this essay I’ll state the approaches to studying language of both Burrhus Frederic Skinner and Aram Noam Chomsky, discuss their differences and similarities, and how Edmund Husserl would respond to them then proceed to compare their positions to that of Husserl. 2. BURRHUS FREDERIC SKINNER Burrhus Frederic Skinner, a behaviorist, believed language acquisition is by nurture and said the origin of language is based on three factors and these are by imitation, association and reinforcement (Jordan 2004). He regarded language acquisition as something a child learns by trying out words through imitating those around then associate those words with meaning that could be derived from events, objects or by definition. Afterwards the child would then acquire language by reinforcement that could be either positively reinforcement, when they accept the concept, keep it and use it or negatively reinforcement when they don’t want to use it and they discard and throw it away (Jordan 2004), all by way of their understanding, for example a child may say can I have some

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