Chapter 2 First Language Acquisition. Preliminaries: Do children learn their L1 only through imitation? Give examples to support your point. Why a young child is more sensitive for words like ‘apple, dog, doll’ than words like ‘atomic bomb, clone, embassy’?. (1) Theories in L1A
Do children learn their L1 only through imitation? Give examples to support your point.
Why a young child is more sensitive for words like ‘apple, dog, doll’ than words like ‘atomic bomb, clone, embassy’?
1. behaviorist learning theory
(popular in the 1950s and 60s)
2. the nativist approach
3. the cognitive approach
4. the functional approach
1. B.F. Skinner
2. Viewpoint: LL is a kind of behavior similar to other human behavior. Language is learnt in much the same way as anything else is learnt. 都是经过刺激一反应而逐渐形成习惯的结果
stimulus → organism → response
↓ ↓ ↓
lg input the learner imitation
e.g. ‘This is a pencil → ‘This is a pencil’.
模仿 强化 重复 成形
positive negative good habit bad habit
positive reinforcement: praise or reward
negative reinforcement: corrections
good habit: correct performance
bad habit: errors
①overemphasize the external factors
②ignore the internal factor, i.e. the role of learner himself
③overemphasize the role of imitation
5.relations with FLT (Audiolingual Method)
Children’s ability to learn a language is innate.
2. innate hypothesis: ↑
3. Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
characteristics of LAD:
Universal grammar (UG):
Chomsky’s term for the abstract principles that comprise a child’s innate knowledge of language and that guide LA
The nativist approach (B)
①A holds the view that LL is similar to the learning of other things;
B holds the view that LL is different from the learning of other things; We’re born with a kind of faculty which is unique to LL.
②A attaches great importance to the role of language input;
B holds that input is needed, but only to ‘trigger’ the operation of the LAD
·hard to find out the nature of LAD
·difficult to observe LAD
7.Contributions of the nativist approach:
It regards children’s language as a reasonable system rather than something full of errors.
Children’s language development relies on their understanding of the world or cognition.
2.its difference from the nativist approach
3. Case study
1. to probe LA not from the angle of language structure, but from the angle of language communication.
Children can learn a language successfully for the reason that they realize language could help do things.
a. instrumental function
b. regulatory function
c. interactional function
d. personal function
e. heuristic function
f. imaginative function
g. representative function
4. Communicative approach in LT
1) physiological aspect
2) cognitive aspect
④ learning speed
①follow the same route
②similar learning strategies
e.g. overgeneralization ( *goed; *comed; *foots; *sheeps)
Ques. 3, 6, 7, 8