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 Cognitive Development
- Acquisition Strategies -


   Ψ  Theories of Language Learning:

     From Behaviorism: Infants need to be taught. The basic idea is that all learning is acquired, step by step, through association & reinforcement. Core ideas follow.

        Parents are the teachers.
        Frequent repetition is instructive, especially when linked to daily life.
        •  Well-taught infants become well-spoken infants.

     From Epigenetic theory: Infants teach themselves. The Language Acquisition Device (LAD) is a congenital, organic brain function theorized by Noam Chomsky which allows humans to acquire languages. This is a component of the nativist theory which suggests humans are born with the instinct or innate ability to acquire language. Chomsky based its existence partly on the vast complexity of language he was familiar with as a linguist. At the time it was conceived (19601965), it was in strict contrast to B.F. Skinner's behavioral psychology which emphasized principles of learning theory such as classical and operant conditioning and imitation over biological predisposition. The interactionist theory of Jerome Bruner & Jean Piaget later emphasized the importance of the interaction between biological & social (nature & nurture) aspects of language acquisition, the dominant theory among psychologists today (a hybrid approach).

     From Sociocultural theory: Social impulses foster infant language (a social-pragmatic approach). Social impulses, not explicit teaching or brain maturation lead infants to learn language as part of being a human social animal.

Adults & Babies Teach Each Other!

                         Its not  just Nurture - B.F Skinner
                             Its not  just Nature - Noam Chomsky - LAD
                                 Its not  just Social Context.

Ψ  Its the combination of all three!
                 An emergentist coalition.

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Adults & Babies Teach Each Other!

- by holding prelinguistic "conversations".
 - by engaging in baby talk.
  - when adults persistently name objects & events that capture a child's attention.
   - when adults expand on the child's sounds & words making them into meaningful communications.

Ψ  Motherese Name given to the restricted sort of language spoken by mothers to their children, the main function of which is to teach the child the basic function & structure of language.


Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates