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Childhood Language Acquisition - Coursework Example

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The multidisciplinary approach to language acquisition has yielded the kind of results that is surveyed and discussed in the "Childhood Language Acquisition" paper. Children acquire language throughout the course of their development, coinciding with social and physical forms of development…
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Childhood Language Acquisition
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Download file to see previous pages The study of language is inherently victim to scientific frustration because of our inability to create language. Indeed, the subject of study is confined to those languages already ensconced into linguistic communities. Children’s acquisition of language is an equally troublesome area of research insofar as children are not subject to the researcher’s manipulation like any other variable Moreover, unlike the ideal variable in the study, a child’s linguistic development does not occur in a vacuum: it coincides temporally with not only physical/motor growth, but also cognitive, perceptual, and social development. In spite of these methodological problems with studying the nature of the language-acquisition process, our knowledge of the process is relatively reliable. Scientists have paired methods in linguistic theory, ethology, neurobiology, child psychology, philosophy, cognitive psychology, and computer science. 

Historically, theories of childhood language opposition have swayed between two general sentiments that generally mirror the history of epistemology, with empiricism versus rationalism, or nativism. Noam Chomsky is largely credited with moving linguistics back into the nativist camp from the empiricist-behaviorist paradigm exemplified by psychologist B.F. Skinner (Chomsky, A Review of B. F. Skinners Verbal Behavior). However, there is reason to doubt these extremes on the spectrum of language acquisition and to adopt a novel stance with input from the area of theoretical computer science, along with more readily applicable fields like psychology, biology, and linguistics. In the end, learnability theory will be considered as a better approximation of what is actually the case and fits the bill as the proper explanation of what actually goes on in the childhood language acquisition process, comprising a diverse set of mechanisms that promote the difference as a child’s information processing abilities develop.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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