Language Acquisition by evaluating both cognitive and affective theories

Humanities

For this 5–6-page assignment, you will weigh in on the ongoing debate between many theorists about the nature of language acquisition by evaluating both cognitive and affective theories of language acquisition.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

For this assignment, weigh in on the ongoing debate about the how and why of language acquisition. Complete the following:

  • Evaluate both cognitive and affective theories of language acquisition.
    • Be sure to note to what degree to which you believe language acquisition is guided by nature and nurture.
  • Include in your assignment an examination of what you know about language acquisition in diverse populations.
  • Use scholarly evidence and your own professional experience to support your position.

Additional Requirements

  • Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: Resources and citations should be formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
  • Length:5–6 double-spaced, typed pages.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
  • Evaluate the theories and principles that pertain to the cognitive components of cognitive and affective psychology.
    • Evaluate cognitive theories about language acquisition.
  • Evaluate the theories and principles that pertain to the affective components of cognitive and affective psychology.
    • Evaluate affective theories about language acquisition.
  • Explain how the theories and principles of cognitive and affective psychology apply to diverse populations.
    • Examine differences and similarities of language acquisition in diverse populations.
  • Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the psychological professions.
    • Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the psychological professions.
  • In 1957, behaviorist B. F. Skinner wroteVerbal Behavior, an account of how language is acquired. Noam Chomsky (1957), a young and little-known linguist at the time, wrote a review in which he disputed Skinner’s behaviorist, empiricist explanation, regarding the book as “a reductio ad absurdum of behaviorist assumptions” (p. 26).
  • Tomasello (2005) summarizes Skinner’s and Chomsky’s positions:
  • Skinner’s proposal . . . was that young children learn their “verbal behavior” using the same garden-variety learning mechanisms they use to learn other behaviors . . . Skinner proposed that young children learn pieces of language by means of instrumental conditioning (based on principles of association) and that they generalize (based on principles of induction) . . . Chomsky argued that there are some principles of grammar that are so abstract and, in a sense, arbitrary that children could not possibly learn them by means of simple association and induction. (p. 2)
  • In the late 1950s, this was a dramatic event. Some claim that the start of the cognitive revolution can be traced back to Chomsky’s willingness to take on the mighty behavioral forces in psychology.
  • Many theorists, like Skinner and Chomsky above, have debated the nature of language acquisition.
  • Skinner, B. F. (1957).Verbal behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Tomasello, M. (2005).Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Boston, MA: First Harvard University Press.
References

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

  • How is language characterized?
  • What processes are involved in the acquisition and use of language?
  • How does language affect the way we think?
  • In what way is language tied to its social context?
  • What happens in the brain as language develops?

Suggested Resources

The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assigment or to provide a helpful context.

The following e-books and articles are linked directly in this course:

The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required.

Sternberg, R. J., & Sternberg, K. (2012). Cognitive psychology (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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