II. Theories of first Language Acquisition
1. The behaviourist prespective
2. The innatist prespective
3. The interactional/developmental perspectives
III. Language disorders and delays
• Language acquisition is the process by which humans
acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend
language, as well as to produce and use words to
• First language acquisition refers to the child’s
acquisition of his mother tongue, and how he comes
to understand and speak the language of his
4. Theories of first Language Acquisition
The behaviourist perspective :
• The Behaviorist perspective Learning is explained
in terms of imitation practice and reinforcement.
• Behaviourists view that children learn language
through a process of stimulus (hearing) and
response,in which they imitate sounds and practise
what they hear. Thus,correct structures are positively
reinforced and encouraged by their environment.
6. Examples of children’s speech
e.g 1: Lois: You’re gonna put more wheels in the
Peter:Dump truck.Wheels.Dump truk.
children do not imitate adults’s speech in
the same way as parrots do. They imitate
words selectively according to their own
understandings of the sounds or patterns.
7. • e.g 2: Lois: Did you see the toys I brought ?
Kathryn : I bring toys? Choo choo ? Lois brought the
choo choo train?
In this case the child produce a series of related
practise sentences and use language creatively
without imitate the other’s speech.
8. The innatist perspective
• Noam Chomsky is the best known and the most
influential American linguist of the second half of the
Twentieth Century. He has made a number of strong
claims about language.
• He argued that children are biologically programmed for
language and that language develops in the child as well
as the other biological functions develop.
To acquire language a child only needs the
availability of people who speak to him.The child‘s
biological endowment will do the rest.
9. Chomsky’s critical review of
• Chomsky argued that Children’s minds are not blank slates
to be filled by imitating language they hear in the
• They are born with a specific innate ability to discover for
themselves the underlying rules of a language system on
the basis of the samples of a natural language they are
• Chomsky suggests that language is an innate ability that is
to say that human beings born with set of rules about
language in the brains called the UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR.
10. • It is agreed by the most linguists that grammar
• Proponents of the innatist perspective argue that
this complexity could never be learned purely on
the basis of imitating and practising sentences
available in the input.
Children must have some innate mechanism
of knowledge that allows them to discover such
complex syntax in spite of limitations of the input.
11. The Critical Period Hypothesis
The critical period hypothesis is the subject of a
long-standing debate in linguistics and language
acquisition over the extent to which the ability to
acquire language is biologically linked to age.
• The hypothesis claims that there is an ideal time
window to acquire language in a linguistically rich
environment, after which further language
acquisition becomes much more difficult or
Problems of Innatism
• Too much emphasis on the final state, but not enough
on the developmental aspects of language acquisition.
• Language is one manifestation of the cognitive and
affective ability to deal with the world .
• Cognitive psychologists view that language acquisition is
an example of child’s ability to learn from experience.
• He placed the acquisition of first language within
the context of child's mental or cognitive
• he trace the development of children's cognitive
understanding such as object permanence,stability
of quantity and logical inferencing ect..
Language can be used to represent knowledge
that children have acquired through physical
interaction with the enviroment.
14. Vygotsky :
• He observed that the interaction among children and
also between children and adults is important in the
development of language.
• He argued that language develops primarily from social
• A supportive interactive environment enables children to
advance to a higher level ok knowledge.Than they would
be able to do independentaly as the ZPD.
15. The imporatance of interaction:
• Social interactions between a language-learning child
and an interlocutor play an important role in
development of language skills.
• This role is illuminated by cases where such
interaction is missing.
16. • A child called Jim was a hearing child of deaf
parents,his only contact with oral language was
• He did not begin his linguistic development in a
normal enviroment in which a parent communicated
with him in either oral or sign language.
• Connectionists hypothesize that language
acquisition dose not require a separate “module of
the mind” but can be explained in terms of learning
• They argue that what children need to know is
essentially available in the language they are exposed
18. • Connectionism views language as a complex system
of units which become interconnected in the mind as
they are encountered together. The more often units
are heard or seen together, the more likely it is that the
presence of one will lead to the activation of the other.
19. • Language acquisition is not just a process of
associating words with elements of external
reality. It is also a process of associating words
and phrases with the other words and phrases
that occur with them, or words with
grammatical morphemes that occur with
20. Language disorders and delays
• Language disorders or language impairments are disorders
that involve the processing of linguistic information.
• Problems that may be experienced can involve grammar
(syntax),semantics (meaning), or other aspects of language.
21. • Types of this disability can
include:deafness,artticulatory problems and