Week 6: Language Acquisition. The object of study. Language acquisition is the study of the processes through which humans acquire language.
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1. Human language can be seen primarily as a socially, or culturally determined tool for communication.
2. Alternatively, language can be seen primarily as a cognitive mechanism for structuring utterances and perhaps also thoughts.
This has led to the long-standing debate between the two different groups of scholars:
Critical Period Hypothesis: Exposure to language
beforepuberty is necessary for language acquisition.
Children with delayed exposure tolanguage:“The Wild Boy of Aveyron”.Genie
an entire sentence.
between 50 to 600 words.
How do children fit long thoughts into two wordutterances?
Children appear to use vertical constructions of
utterances (Moskowitz, 1991).
Breaking thoughts down into two-word utterances.
Adults use horizontal constructions.
- Complete word-by-word specification of thoughts.
Despite the obvious impact the environment has on the
choice and general direction of mother-tongue learning,
children are prone to come up with all kinds of words
and expressions which they have never heard in their