Who put forth the learning theory of language acquisition?


Who put forth the learning theory of language acquisition?

Language Acquisition:

Language use among human beings is central to our lives and one of the abilities that sets humans apart from other species. Language is a complex, symbolic, rule-based system that is not completely understood. One way to understand how language works is to study the development of language during infancy and childhood when it is still an emerging skill.

Answer and Explanation:

The American behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner was the first to put forth an exclusively behaviorist account of the process of language acquisition. For Skinner, children learn their language much in the same ways that rats learn to navigate through mazes. Children essentially learn how to speak through trial and error, based on the operant conditioning principles of reinforcement and punishment. Over time, children learn to associate sights with sounds and imitate adult words. Those imitations that approximate actual words are met with reinforcement from parents, and those that are not are otherwise punished. Ultimately, however, the Skinnerian view of language development proved to be largely inadequate as famously explained by the psycholinguist Noam Chomsky.

Learn more about this topic:

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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