First Language Aquisition


S Why is this? S What is the difference between learning a first language and learning a second language? .S It is easy to make the observation that a child learns a first language with ease. learning a second language seems like a more difficult task. However.

F.Theories in First Language Acquisition S Behavioral Approaches: S Language is studied as part of the human behavior. Skinner‟s operant conditioning: “conditioning in which the organism emits a response” and that response. S B. S Language use is a response to stimuli or conditioned by reinforcement. or “operant” “is maintained by the reinforcement. S Focus on empirical observation and scientific methodology. S Focus on observable aspects of linguistic behavior. .” S Verbal behavior is conditioned by its consequences.

S Cognitive and affective experience of a person ignored. .Criticisms to Behavioral Approaches S How do you explain novel utterances by the learner? S Unresolved relation between meaning and utterance.

” S Noam Chomsky S The language acquisition device (LAD) S Universal Grammar (UG) .The Nativist Approach S Nativist: “We are born with a genetic capacity that presupposes us to a systematic perception of language around us. resulting in the construction of an internalized language system.

which he or she then matches with what is happening around him. (3) knowledge that some linguistic systems possible while others are not. (2) deduction of rules from language that children hear. (4) constant evaluation of the linguistic system.S LAD S S “set of language learning tools. provided at birth.” 4 innate linguistic properties: (1) the ability to distinguish speech sounds from other sounds. S Universal Grammar (UG): “The basis upon which all human languages build.” . (2) ability to organize linguistic data into different classes. This grammar offers a certain limited number of possibilities like the word order of a sentence. “It is as if the child were offered at birth a certain number of hypotheses..” S S S Basis: (1) the short time in which a child acquires a language.

Criticism of Nativist Approaches S Information is processed simultaneously .” “The systematicities of syntax emerge from the set of learned associations between language functions and base and past tense forms. with novel responses generated by „online‟ generalizations from stored examples.” . S Parallel distributed processing S Connectionism S No grammar “rules. relative simple developmental process being exposed to a massive and complex environment.” S Emergentism: “ the complexity of language emerges from.

S He differentiates between „core‟ and central grammar of language. . He regards meaning as secondary. he no like bananas‟ S Disregard to meaning. S Chomsky differentiates between competence and performance.S Critics say he reduces language to grammar. means no regard to the social situation in which the child learns a language. S 'Colourless green ideas sleep furiously‟ S 'My mother.

with an interaction between their developing perceptual cognitive capabilities and their linguistic experiences. and the rules that govern them. . words.” S “Mommy sock. sentences.” Forms: “morphemes.” This utterance could mean different things to a child depending on the social context. interactive purposes within a social context that we accomplish with forms.” S Cognition and Language Development S Piaget: “overall development as the result of the children‟s interaction with their environment.Functional Approaches S What do they mean by function of language? S “The meaningful.

S Others argue that children “have an innate capacity to read meaning into social situations.” S Functions of language and discourse. . S Social constructivist emphasis.Social Interaction and Language Development S The psychologist Jerome Bruner that there is a possibility of the presence LAD but it has to be accompanied by the Language Acquisition Support System (LASS).

S Production competence and comprehension competence S Evidence of comprehension of aspects of language that is never produced and production of language that is yet not comprehended. S Language performance: actual production (speaking and writing). vocabulary.Issues in First Language Acquisition S Competence and performance S Language competence: “one‟s underlying knowledge of the system of language” (grammar. etc. .).

parameters and structure dependency S Systematicity and variability S Language and thought S How thoughts affect language and how language affects thoughts . “in a predetermined biological timetable” and which are exposed by the environment by teaching and social interactions. S Universality of language acquisition S Principles.S Nature and nurture S What behaviors are accounted by nature.

found that the frequency of occurrence of a linguistic item in the speech of mothers was an overwhelmingly strong predictor of the order of emergence of those items in their children‟s speech. is required. rather than exposure.” ... “.” S Input S Adult input in a child‟s acquisition S Discourse S Berko-Gleason said.S Imitation S S Surface structure imitation Deep structure imitation S Practice and frequency S “Brown and Hanlon (1970).. order for successful first language acquisition to take place. for example.

com/ WebPages/LangTeach/Licence/CM/OldLectures/ L1_Introduction. Frist Language Acquisition. Timothy. S Mason.timothyjpmason. Pearson Education. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. 24-53. White Plains. Learning Language. (2007). pp. NY. Timothy Mason‟s Site.References S Brown.htm . H. Retrieved from: http://www.

and nativist and functional. S Journal entry: Use bullet number 3 in page 53 to write your first journal entry. S Answer question #8 in page 52 S Answer Classroom Connections question in page 46 in (Teaching Implications).S Summarize the important positions of the various theoretical positions of first language acquisition: behaviorist. .

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