FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

Report
FIRST LANGUAGE
ACQUISITION
BY: Marisol Barraza
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HOW DO CHILDREN COMMUNICATE?
SMALL BABIES
END OF FIRST YEAR
18 MONTHS
3 YEARS
SCHOOL AGE
First Language Acquisition
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Children have a remarkable ability to
communicate.
Small babies: children babble and coo and
cry and vocally and non-vocally send
messages and receive messages.
End of first year: children start to imitate
words and speech sounds and about this
time use first words.
3. 18 months: their vocabulary in terms of words
has increased and are beginning to use 2 word
3 word utterances (telegraphic utterances)
4. 3 years: Children can comprehend an
incredible quantity of linguistic input, they
chatter nonstop.
5. School age: Children start to internalize
increasingly complex structures, expand their
vocabulary and sharpen their communication
skills and they also learn the social functions of
their language.
FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
WHAT ARE THE THREE POSITIONS IN
FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION?
Theories of First Language
Acquisition
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Theories of language acquisition attempt to
answer some questions about how people
can have the amazing language acquisition
ability.
FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
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Behavioristic Position
Nativist Position
Functional Position
Behavioristic Position
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Individuals are born without built-in mental
content and their knowledge comes from
experience and perception(tabula rasa).
Assumes a learner is essentially passive,
responding to environmental stimuli.
Behavior is shaped through positive
reinforcement or negative reinforcement.
Consider effective language behavior to be the
production of correct responses to stimuli. If a
particular response is reinforced, it then
becomes habitual, or conditioned.
Video
Nativist
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We have an innate predisposition to learn
language, and learning is in our genetics.
According to Chomsky, this innate knowledge
is embodied in a ¨little black box¨ of sorts, a
language acquisition device (LAD).
All human beings are genetically equipped with
the ability that enables them to acquire
language. (a system of universal linguistic rules
or Universal Grammar)
Nativist
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The child´s language at any stage is systematic in
that the child is constantly forming hypotheses con
the basis of the input received and then testing those
hypothesis in speech and comprehension.
The early grammars of child language were referred
to as pivot grammar.
The parallel Distributed Processing: a child´s
linguistic performance may be the consequence of
many levels of simultaneous neural
interconnections rather that a serial process of one
rule being applied, then another, then another and
so forth.
Functional Approaches
Two emphases emerged
1.
Researchers began to realize that language
was a cognitive and affective ability to
communicate with all the things including
the self.
2.
They dealt with the forms of language, not
the deeper functional levels.
Functional Approaches
Cognition and Language Development
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Bloom found three possible underlying relationships:
agent-action, agent-object, and possessor-possessed.
In addition, he concluded that children learn underlying
structures, not superficial word order.
Piaget insisted that what children learn about language
is determined by what they already know about the
world.
Dan Slobin demonstrated that semantic learning
depends on cognitive development.
Functional Approaches
Social Interaction and Language Development
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Social constructivist emphasized on the
function of language in discourse.
Discourse has a special meaning in that
language is used for interactive
communication.
What issues in First Language Acquisition
were covered in this chapter?
Issues in First Language Acquisition
Competence and Performance
Competence:
 Refers to one´s underlying knowledge of a
system, event, or fact.
 It is the nonobservable ability to do something,
to perform something.
 Competence & Language: it is one´s knowldege
of the system of a language (rules of grammar,
vocabulary)-all the pieces of language and how
they fit together.
Competence and Performance
Performance
 It is the overtly observable and concrete
manifestation or realization of competence.
 It is the actual production (speaking,
writing) or the comprehension (listening,
reading) of linguistic events.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
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Comprehension and Production
They are both aspects of competence and
performance.
Children seem to understand more than
they actually produce like adults do.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
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Is language acquisition nature or nurture?
Even if Nativists insist that a child is born with
an innate knowledge toward language, there
are a number of problems.
The innateness is important, but we should not
ignore the environmental factors.
Language is both acquired and learned
Issues in First Language Acquisition
UNIVERSALS
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Children go through similar Universal Language Acquisition stages
regardless of cultural and social circumstances.
Language is universally acquired in the same manner, and the deep
structure of language at its deepest level may be common to all
languages.
According to Maratsos (1988), universal linguistic categories such
as word order, morphological marking tone, agreement, reduced
reference of nouns and noun clauses, verbs and verb classes,
predication, negation and question formation are common to all
languages.
There are principles and parameters which specify some limited
possibilities of variation.
Parameters determines ways in which languages can vary.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
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Systematicity and Variability
Systematicity means that children show a
remarkable ability to infer the phonological,
structural, lexical and semantic system of
language.
However, in the midst of all this systematicity,
there is an equal amount of variability in the
process of learning.
This means that something children once
learned may easily be changed or forgotten due
to the perception of new language systems.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
Language and Thought
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Piaget claimed that cognitive development
affects language.
On the other hand, others claimed that
language has an effect on thought.
The truth is that language and thought are
closely related.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
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Imitation
One of the most important strategies a child
uses in language learning is imitation.
Behaviorists assume one type of imitation, but
a deeper level of imitation is much more
important in the process of language
acquisition.
When children imitate the surface structure of
the language, they are not able to understand
what they are imitating.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
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Practice
A behavioristic model of first language acquisition would
claim that practice - repetition and association – is the
key to the formation of habits by operant conditioning.
Practice is usually regarded as referring to speaking
only. But we can also think about comprehension
practice.
The child learns not only how to initiate a conversation
but how to respond to another’s initiating utterance and
recognize the function of the discourse.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
Input
 The role of input in the child’s acquisition of
language is very important.
 Children can speak what they hear.
 Adult and peer input to the child is far more
crucial that nativists earlier thought.
 Adult input shapes the child’s acquisition and
the interaction patterns between child and
parent change according to the increasing
language skill of the child.
Issues in First Language Acquisition
Discourse
 Berko-Gleason mentioned that interaction,
rather than exposure, is required in order
for successful first language acquisition to
take place and children learn language in
the context of being spoken to.
 Sinclair and Coulthard proposed that
conversations should be examined in terms
of initiations and responses.
In Conclusion
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In order to understand why it’s not easy to
learn a second language in spite of the first
language acquisition, we should understand
the nature of initial acquisition process.

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