Health and medicine
- Divided attention, selective attention, inattentional blindness, & change blindness
- Theories of selective attention
- Theories of language and cognition
- Theories of language development: Nativist, learning, interactionist
- Language and the brain: Aphasia and split-brain patients
Learn about the nativist, learning, and interactionist theories of human language development. By Carole Yue. . Created by Carole Yue.
Want to join the conversation?
- Isn't it completely plausible that all three of these major theories are correct? Social habits suit our species evolutionarily (Vygotsky). -> Our small, weak offspring have a greater chance of survival the earlier they can communicate so we evolve an LAD in our young (Chomsky) -> Reinforcement hones our developing linguistic skills.(24 votes)
- I think in that way, as it happens with the theories of personality: Theories are a way to explain why something is happening.
For having the ability to learn you need a certain set of skills: First, you need your brain to be okay (aphasias will make difficult the learning) and don't have issues with your senses (hearing, speaking). That would be (in some way, I'm not an expert - yet) what the Chomsky theories said with LAD.
For everything in the life (even there are exceptions) you need practice, so the Learning theory is also true, as the interactionist (the social role is clear when you have people who doesn't speak the same language, and even that, they try to communicate!).(4 votes)
- Has anyone ever wondered why so many languages have similar words for moms? For example, mom, mama, ma, ama, mami. If you have know please name them and their language.(4 votes)
- One reason for this is common root languages, but even highly unrelated languages have similar words for mothers. One of the other possible reasons for this is "m" and "a" are physically very easy sounds for babies to start making early on, based on the way the human mouth is structured. Other phonemes are much harder to master. And "mom" or "ma" is usually one of the first words a baby needs to know.(8 votes)
- What I find interesting in one sense is the example about how learning psychologists believe children learn through reinforcement. What she describes sounds almost exactly how dogs are trained. Dogs don't have the mind power to understand words really, but they learn through reinforcement what words entail. Like how you teach a dog to sit by saying sit and then handing him a treat. So I think that shows that the theory of reinforcement at the very least exists in some animals, and probably to some extent humans. But then humans also have the superior brain power to go past reinforcement. Does this all make sense or am I getting this wrong?(3 votes)
- You are correct. The majority of animals are able to understand the meaning of words by correlating them with some concrete response/action. Humans have a greater intellectual capacity to actually assign meaning to words. But remember, there is a catch in this reasoning! Animals do not understand what we designate as words, but they understand what they designate as "words". Although this diverges into the realm of animal intelligence, there are some researchers (myself included), who analogize our understanding of animal language to our understanding of a foreign language. Unless we learn a foreign language, we cannot speak or comprehend it, and the misinformed will interpret words as meaningless gabble. But the native speaker of the language assigns meaning to it very well. Consider the Kung! tribe of Africa, which uses sounds and clicks to develop a complex language system. This seems to be no more meaningful than birds chirping, but carries meaning nonetheless. We learn foreign languages a lot through reinforcement too, much like dogs learn our words.(7 votes)
- So theoretically i could learn dog?(2 votes)
- Actually there were (rare) reports of human babies abandoned in the woods but didn't starve and instead were brought up by female wolves. It's said that they learned "wolf". and could growl exactly like wolves. So if you were brought up by dogs, in complete isolation from human society, then theoretically you could learn "dog".
That case I read about put emphasis on the flexibility of the vocal cord though, claiming how not just the language system you use, but also your voice and tone that's determined not by biological factors but mainly by culture, or upbringing to be exact, in the wolf case, since it's arguable if wolves have any culture.(4 votes)
- What I find interesting and unbelievable is babies just have ability to learn a language. There is a critical period which starts when baby was born and until 8-9 years old. During this period of time a babies is most able to learn a languages. But if we try to learn after that period of time it will become a lot harder. Nativists Chomsky said that’s because the LAD only operates during that critical period. My question will be is there any ways to produce the LAD to help people learn languages?(0 votes)
- which theory of language development you find the best in developing of the language of a child?(0 votes)
- How can we disprove the idea within the learning theory that children will sometimes use words and/or phrases they've never heard before? More specifically, how can we be sure that these new words were not picked up passively from sources that the parents/observers/researchers weren't aware of?(0 votes)
- We wouldn't disprove it, children use words/ phrases all the time without the understanding of the meaning. So the theory is a solid one but as far as being more mindful as to the verbage criteria or actions everybody can be a better role model. But....take cussing for instance if my 2 year old said S*** they 100% heard it from me and although not ideal its better their father than a stranger.(1 vote)
- Yes there are common threads in all language. Sentence structure, grammar, written and spoken language , a collection of words . That sort of thing.(0 votes)
So this might surprise you, but one of the most amazing feats you'll ever accomplish as a human being already happened, and that is language development. I mean, think about it. When you're a baby, all these sounds are coming at you, and somehow, you're able to figure out which sounds are words, where there are breaks between the words, general grammatical rules, and you're able to apply them without any real formal training. This is amazing. So naturally, a lot of research has been done into how this ability develops. And I'm going to tell you about the three main theories that look at language development. So first, we start out with the nativist, or innatist perspective. And what this perspective says is that children are born with the ability to learn language. And the main guy associated with this theory is Noam Chomsky. And he thought the humans had something called a language acquisition device, or LAD, in their brains that allowed them to learn language. And this isn't really supposed to be in a specific part of the brain. It's just an idea that this ability exists. And this works because he thought that all languages shared a universal grammar, or the same basic elements, so all languages would have nouns, verbs, things like that. So the language acquisition device enables the child to pick up on and understand those types of words and their organization within a sentence for any language. This goes along with the idea that there is a "critical period" or a "sensitive period." The "critical period" is usually thought to be from birth until about age eight or nine, and it's the period of time in which a child is most able to learn a language. So if you try to learn a language after that age, it's a lot harder. It's not impossible. It's just a lot harder. And nativists like Chomsky would say that that's because the LAD only operates during that critical period. Once you start using it, then it specializes to your language, and it becomes unable to detect other sounds and grammar from other languages. The second theory I want to tell you about is the learning theory. Learning theorists think that children aren't born with anything. They only acquire language through reinforcement. So a learning theorist would say that a child learns to say "mama" because every time it makes it sound that approaches that-- so "ma-something"-- then Mom starts smiling, hugging the child, so over time, the child learns, oh, the more I make this sound, the more I get hugs and smiles. And so then, eventually, it learns to say "ma," and then say it again, and learns to say "mama." So this makes sense. But a strict learning theory doesn't explain how children are able to produce words they've never heard before or produce unique sentences. So we have another theory called the interactionist approach. Sometimes this is called the social interactionist approach, because these theorists believe that biological and social factors have to interact in order for children to learn language. So they would say that children strongly desire to communicate with others, such as the adults in their lives, and that desire motivates them to learn to communicate via language. And the main theorist associated with this school of thought is Vygotsky. He was a big proponent of the importance of social interaction in the development of children. All three of these theories have made big contributions to our understanding of how children develop language. So the next time you look at a baby, be impressed. They're actually working really hard.