Distinguish between the learning theory, nativist approach, and Interactionist perspective as...

Question:

Distinguish between the learning theory, nativist approach, and interactionist perspective as they pertain to language acquisition.

Language Acquisition:

The acquisition of language begins in infancy, progressing from babbling to the one-word, two-word and sentence stages by way of interacting with parents and other adults. Typically, children achieve lasting native fluency by the time they turn 5 or 6.

Answer and Explanation:

The learning approach to language development originated with the behaviorist B. F. Skinner, who argued that children acquire their native language within an operant conditioning framework. Parents reinforce learning by rewarding their children when they produce sounds that resemble words and correct them when they make mistakes. This is a trial-and-error process, whereby children repeat those words that are reinforced and avoid repeating those sounds that are not reinforced.

The biological, nativist approach suggests that children are born to talk. Therefore, they do not have to learn a lot of the rules that govern human language because these rules already exist within the areas of the brain responsible for communicating orally and understanding the spoken word. In the nativist approach, language is viewed as instinctual, which would explain why children everywhere learn to speak so effortlessly and quickly, acquiring their skills in a nearly universal order.

The interactionist perspective on language acquisition emerged as a response to both the learning and nativist approaches and incorporates elements of both. Social interactionists argue that although the acquisition of language is innate and children are biologically predisposed to communicate, they learn about the structure and rules of language in their environment.


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What Is Language Acquisition? - Theories & Stages

from Praxis English Language Arts - Content & Analysis (5039): Practice & Study Guide

Chapter 14 / Lesson 2
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