Language Development: Theoretical Perspectives

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Language Development: Theoretical Perspectives af Mind Map: Language Development: Theoretical Perspectives

1. Behaviorist Perspective: The behaviorist theory is largely attributed to B.F. Skinner. The behaviorist theory suggests that each child is born a "blank slate" and that learning occurs as a result of external stimuli and experiences from the environment. In terms of language development, Otto says "Reinforcement of a child's verbal and nonverbal responses to language directed at him is responsible for the language learning that occurs" (2010, p. 31).

2. Nativist Perspective: The nativist theory is largely attributed to Noam Chomsky. According to Otto, "The nativist perspective emphasizes inborn or innate human capabilities (i.e., “nature”) as being responsible for language development" (2010, p. 27). Chomsky suggested that everyone has the capacity to acquire language due to stimuli specific to language development. Chomsky also said that there exists universal grammar. Universal grammar applies to all languages.

3. Cognitive Developmentalist Perspective: The cognitive developmentalist theory is largely attributed to Jean Piaget. According to Otto, "The close relation between cognitive development and language is based on the belief that, for language to develop, specific cognitive growth must occur first" (2010, p. 30). The cognitive developmental perspective suggests that language develops as maturation occurs and specific cognitive skills are developed. Language development occurs in the same way as other learning and development.

4. Interactionist Perspective: The interactionist theory can be attributed to Lev Vygotsky, Michael Halliday, and Jerome Bruner. According to Otto, "The interactionist perspective focuses on the primary role of sociocultural interaction in children's development of language knowledge" (2010, p. 33). Children learn language through attempts to communicate and interact with their environments. The interactionist theory suggests that language is developed as result of a need to function appropriately in society.