Response a peer

Response a peer.

***** Respond in a paragraph following the established guidelines. The answer must be of a substantial nature and with quotes present in the textbook. Agree or disagree is not appropriate. ***** Only use this book and specific pages.   Represent the quotes (author, year, and page) when reflecting the content in your paragraph.


Source of reference: textbook Chapter 4, PAGES 39, 40 

Textbook: Teaching Students with Language and

Communication Disabilities, S.J. Kuder, 5th Edition.2018.Pearson.

Peer 1



Language Acquisition Models

Hellen D. Forchue

January 17, 2020

Language Acquisition Models 2

From the seventies, there is a radical change concerning the context and orientation in the study of children’s language. Therefore, this study was emphasized in the development of the child’s spontaneous speech. The question was how children acquired their first language. From this question came some theories, of which their respective creators presented their views. Theories of acquisition and development of language. The Behavioral Model, the Nativist or Syntactic Model, the Semantic-Cognitive Model, the Social Interactionist Model, the Information Processing Model, and the Emergentist Model. 

Skinner’s behavioral approach tells us that: the child is seen as a relatively passive recipient of external influences-from parents, siblings, and others (p.46). In other words, Skinner’s behavioral approach takes an empiricist position, which considers that language development comes solely and exclusively from external and internal experience and stimuli. According to his theory, the infant learns by answers that are verbal and intraverbal, in a secondary way. On the positive aspects of behaviorism is the way of speaking to the child, what was first called the Babytalk. Also, treatment programs for children with speech disorders or speech therapy. Studies are analyzed globally verbal, in other words, (conversation). The criticized part of the theory implies the misuse of the order of the acquired words, the explanation of novel productions, and the grammatical errors produced for adults (p. 47). According to the textbook, the theory still has some value, such as parents and other important roles. Also, it has been a successful tool in developing intervention approaches to improve the language skills of many people with significant language disorders (p. 47).

The Nativist or Syntactic Model: Noam (1965; 1968) and others developed the nativist/syntactic theory of language acquisition in response to the behavioral theory of language acquisition (p. 48). Chomsky’s position is mentalistic, according to which language 

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is conceived from innate structures; that is why his theory is known as “generative grammar.” According to Chomsky, the innatism of language is congenital and genetic in the individual, therefore, it is what he calls LAD (Language Acquisition Device). Chomsky’s point of view is that this mechanism has as its content a set of universal principles that are Universal Grammar. When one is born with this ability or device, one begins to receive linguistic stimuli or primary linguistic information. Once this data is processed in the LAD, there is an output or result that is the Grammar of the language in question. The textbook states: “this theory has some limitations, such as the diminished role given to language input. Also, it stems from the theoretical underpinning of the model itself. Last, the nativist theory poses a dilemma to those who are interested in helping children improve their language performance, as it seems to suggest that there is little hope for children experiencing the acquisition of syntax in children.” 

While Fillmores and Bloom’s work focused on the role of semantics in language acquisition, psychologist Jean Piaget was interested in the relationship between cognition (thought) and language (p. 50) The Semantic- Cognitive Model Piaget’s position is mentalist like Chomsky’s and also constructivist. Piaget proposes a genetic and formal theory of knowledge according to which the child must master the conceptual structure of the physical and social world to acquire language. According to Piaget: cognitive developments such as object permanence must precede language development (p. 50). Piaget postulated, unlike Chomsky, that the fact that there are universal elements in language does not mean that they 

are innate. They are the first cognitive schemes and the functional mechanisms of intelligence (assimilation and accommodation). On the other hand, both agreed with the approach of 

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constructivist theories, in which there is a genesis of mental structures. In disagreement with Skinner, for the language is a product of reason and not of associative learning.

Theoretical Foundation: “there is a developmental theory that views social interaction with others as essential for the development of independent cognitive and linguistic functioning-the theory of Vygotsky (1978, 1987).” Vygotsky viewed the child as developing and functioning within a social context.” For Vygotsky, human development is produced through processes of exchange and transmission of knowledge in a communicative and social environment (culture). In other words, the transfer of knowledge of culture is done through language. Therefore, language is the main way of these processes and influences the development of the mind. Mental functions are interpreted as internalized social norms as a result of a source of consciousness. Therefore, language and thought are two different things with different origins, and that throughout the development, there is a functional interconnection, in which thought is verbalized, and speech becomes rational. Therefore, thought is not language-dependent human development is produced through processes of exchange and transmission of knowledge in a communicative and social environment (culture). In other words, the transfer of knowledge of culture is done through language. For Vygotsky, children’s language is initially social (mode of communication with adults) and is external in form and function. Gradually the language is internalized and goes through an egocentric period with an external form but with an internal function. Finally, it becomes a verbal thought that has an internal form.

The information- processing model of learning has been applied to language acquisition by psycholinguistics such as Elizabeth Bates and Bryan Mac Whinney in their competition model of language acquisition (Bates & Mac Whinney, 1987) (p. 53). 

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The theory of information processing is nothing more than the comparison of the human mind with a computer. Where the mind is an information processor, people simply respond to stimuli. In other words, people receive process and deliver results. According to the textbook: “the information processing model has provided another view of language learning. Also, children are not only learning syntax, but they are also learning meaning, and doing so in the context of communication (pragmatics) at the same time” (p. 54).

The textbook states: the emerging model suggests that language arises from the interaction of social patterns and the biology of the cognitive system (Mac Whinney, 1998). In other words, the acquired language skills are the sum of the external environment and the child’s learning abilities. The model advocates that although the child does not possess the innate mechanisms for grammatical structures, neurons are organized and function in the brain so that they have the ability to learn language associations. In addition, language learning is based on the ability of young children to implicitly track the regularities in the language they hear, such as which pairs of sounds usually mark the boundaries between words and which are usually within words (Aslin, Saffran and Newport, 1998; Regier and Gahl, 2004).

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Kuder, S. J. (2018). Teaching Students with Language and Communication Disabilities. New York, NY: Pearson

Watkins, R. V. (2015). Applying Vygotskian Developmental Theory to Language Intervention. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from social interactionist model&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

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