Ch 4: Language Theory & Development

About This Chapter

As you're preparing for an upcoming test or working through your homework, check out this chapter on language theory and development. Our lessons are self-paced, accessible 24 hours a day on any mobile device or computer and written by professional instructors.

Language Theory & Development - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, you'll find bite-sized lessons on language theory and development provided in an easy-to-follow format. Some of the topics covered here include theories of human language development, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and the process of descriptive linguistics. Take your time and work through this chapter as quickly or as slowly as you'd like. Before moving on or taking a test, use the lesson quizzes and chapter tests to see what you've learned and retained. After completing this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Provide examples of the development of human language
  • Detail different approaches to studying human language development
  • Define the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
  • Give a definition and overview of linguistic diversity
  • Outline the purpose and process of descriptive linguistics
  • Explain cognitive linguistics and its related skills
  • Discuss reliability and recursion in human language
  • Describe Noam Chomsky's theories on language
  • Define a lingua franca with examples
  • Identify how languages die

10 Lessons in Chapter 4: Language Theory & Development
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
How Did Human Language Develop? - Theories & Examples

1. How Did Human Language Develop? - Theories & Examples

In this lesson, we address one of the hardest questions about early humans - language development. Many theories offer possible explanations. We'll look at theories from the earliest researchers, followed by contemporary theories.

Approaches to Studying Human Language Development

2. Approaches to Studying Human Language Development

Understanding how humans develop language can be an important part of learning linguistics, as well as psychology and anthropology. This lesson discusses four major approaches to understanding human language development.

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Examples and Definition

3. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Examples and Definition

Did you know that the way we speak and use words can determine how we see the world? Find out how in this lesson about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which also includes some thought-provoking examples. Then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Linguistic Diversity: Definition & Overview

4. Linguistic Diversity: Definition & Overview

Language can be considered a particularly human invention. People need language to communicate with one another in order to survive. This lesson explores why there are so many languages and how these languages may be compared.

What Is Descriptive Linguistics? - Purpose & Process

5. What Is Descriptive Linguistics? - Purpose & Process

This lesson will seek to explain the field of descriptive linguistics. In doing so, it will highlight the terms phonology, morphology, and syntax while discussing examples from around the globe.

Cognitive Linguistics: Definition & Skills

6. Cognitive Linguistics: Definition & Skills

This lesson discusses the discipline of cognitive linguistics and how it has become one of the primary fields within linguistics and psychology. During the discussion, the term is defined and how cognitive linguistics has been used is also discussed.

Recursion & Reliability in Human Language

7. Recursion & Reliability in Human Language

If you are a student of linguistics, you might be interested in how language develops and some of the theories behind how it can work. This lesson discusses recursion and reliability as linguistic concepts.

Noam Chomsky's Theories on Language

8. Noam Chomsky's Theories on Language

In this lesson, you will learn about the key theories of language development put forth by Noam Chomsky. Following this lesson, you will have the opportunity to test your knowledge with a short quiz.

What is a Lingua Franca? - Definition & Examples

9. What is a Lingua Franca? - Definition & Examples

In this lesson, learn what a lingua franca is and the history behind the term. Also, with several examples from the past and the present, you can easily identify many other lingua francas.

How Do Languages Die?

10. How Do Languages Die?

This lesson will first define a dead language. You'll then learn about numerous examples of dead languages as well as how languages might die out quickly and slowly.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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