Innovative Language Learning Biography & Facts
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language (in other words, gain the ability to be aware of language and to understand it), as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate.
Language acquisition involves structures, rules and representation. The capacity to use language successfully requires one to acquire a range of tools including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and an extensive vocabulary. Language can be vocalized as in speech, or manual as in sign. Human language capacity is represented in the brain. Even though human language capacity is finite, one can say and understand an infinite number of sentences, which is based on a syntactic principle called recursion. Evidence suggests that every individual has three recursive mechanisms that allow sentences to go indeterminately. These three mechanisms are: relativization, complementation and coordination.There are two main guiding principles in first-language acquisition: speech perception always precedes speech production, and the gradually evolving system by which a child learns a language is built up one step at a time, beginning with the distinction between individual phonemes.Linguists who are interested in child language acquisition have for many years questioned how language is acquired. Lidz et al. state "The question of how these structures are acquired, then, is more properly understood as the question of how a learner takes the surface forms in the input and converts them into abstract linguistic rules and representations."Language acquisition usually refers to first-language acquisition, which studies infants' acquisition of their native language, whether that be spoken language or signed language, though it can also refer to bilingual first language acquisition (BFLA), which refers to an infant's simultaneous acquisition of two native languages. This is distinguished from second-language acquisition, which deals with the acquisition (in both children and adults) of additional languages. In addition to speech, reading and writing a language with an entirely different script compounds the complexities of true foreign language literacy. Language acquisition is one of the quintessential human traits.
Some early observation-based ideas about language acquisition were proposed by Plato, who felt that word-meaning mapping in some form was innate. Additionally, Sanskrit grammarians debated for over twelve centuries whether humans' ability to recognize the meaning of words was god-given (possibly innate) or passed down by previous generations and learned from already established conventions: a child learning the word for cow by listening to trusted speakers talking about cows.Philosophers in ancient societies were interested in how humans acquired the ability to understand and produce language well before empirical methods for testing those theories were developed, but for the most part they seemed to regard language acquisition as a subset of man's ability to acquire knowledge and learn concepts.Empiricists, like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, argued that knowledge (and, for Locke, language) emerge ultimately from abstracted sense impressions. These arguments lean towards the "nurture" side of the argument: that language is acquired through sensory experience, which led to Rudolf Carnap's Aufbau, an attempt to learn all knowledge from sense datum, using the notion of "remembered as similar" to bind them into clusters, which would eventually map into language.Proponents of behaviorism argued that language may be learned through a form of operant conditioning. In B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior (1957), he suggested that the successful use of a sign, such as a word or lexical unit, given a certain stimulus, reinforces its "momentary" or contextual probability. Since operant conditioning is contingent on reinforcement by rewards, a child would learn that a specific combination of sounds stands for a specific thing through repeated successful associations made between the two. A "successful" use of a sign would be one in which the child is understood (for example, a child saying "up" when they want to be picked up) and rewarded with the desired response from another person, thereby reinforcing the child's understanding of the meaning of that word and making it more likely that they will use that word in a similar situation in the future. Some empiricist theories of language acquisition include the statistical learning theory. Charles F. Hockett of language acquisition, relational frame theory, functionalist linguistics, social interactionist theory, and usage-based language acquisition.
Skinner's behaviorist idea was strongly attacked by Noam Chomsky in a review article in 1959, calling it "largely mythology" and a "serious delusion." Arguments against Skinner's idea of language acquisition through operant conditioning include the fact that children often ignore language corrections from adults. Instead, children typically follow a pattern of using an irregular form of a word correctly, making errors later on, and eventually returning to the proper use of the word. For example, a child may correctly learn the word "gave" (past tense of "give"), and later on use the word "gived". Eventually, the child will typically go back to using the correct word, "gave". Chomsky claimed the pattern is difficult to attribute to Skinner's idea of operant conditioning as the primary way that children acquire language. Chomsky argued that if language were solely acquired through behavioral conditioning, children would not likely learn the proper use of a word and suddenly use the word incorrectly. Chomsky believed that Skinner failed to account for the central role of syntactic knowledge in language competence. Chomsky also rejected the term "learning", which Skinner used to claim that children "learn" language through operant conditioning. Instead, Chomsky argued for a mathematical approach to language acquisition, based on a study of syntax.
As a typically human phenomenon
The capacity to acquire and use language is a key aspect that distinguishes humans from other beings. Although it is difficult to pin down what aspects of language are uniquely human, there are a few design features that can be found in all known forms of human language, but that are missing from forms of animal communication. For example, many animals are able to communicate with each other by signaling to the things around them, but this kind of communication lacks the arbitrariness of human vernaculars (in that there is nothing about the sound of the word "dog" that would hint at its meaning). Other forms of animal communication may utilize arbitrary sounds, but are unable to combine those sounds in different ways to create completely novel messages that can then be automatically understood by another. Hockett called this design feature of human language "pro.... Discover the Innovative Language Learning popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Innovative Language Learning books.