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Language Acquisition

The Role of the Inheritance: Psycholinguistic Model


The psycholinguistic theory was made and accumulated after speculation of the behavioral theory. chomsky came up with some great insights. His first thought doubted that a four-year-old child could just acquire language they are most exposed to because they say many things that have not been frequently spoken around them and remembering all of these words would take a memory load beyond a child's level. His second thought is that language is taught to all cultures in many different places and they all have similar stages of progression. Chomsky's last concern about the behavioral theory was that kids go beyond learning chunks of language and start learning language rules. Chomsky concluded that language is innate and natural, that children are born ready to learn language. Chomsky called this mechanism the language acquisition devise (LAD), which has grammar categories and rules that are found in all languages. Slobin developed five principles to go along with this theory (refer to the Principles of Language). Once a child has learned a little of the language and is exposed to adult language, they begin to use the LAD to make phrases and teach themselves rules about it.

The nativist theory shows that all children learn language without repetitive teaching of it. This theory supports the idea that people are born searching from birth to learn language and can begin to process it immediately.

There are also some speculations about this theory. First, parents change the way they speak to children in systematic ways, for instance, simplifying their vocabulary for young children. This wouldn't be necessary if this model followed. This theory carries a problem for people who are trying to teach children with language difficulties as well. If this theory was completely correct, children who struggle with language could never learn. If a child is born with a language disability, this theory would say it is impossible to teach them beyond their natural ability.

No one can say whether the behavioral or nativist theories are wrong, but they have created questions that led people to learn more about language acquisition.

The Principles of Language

BulletPay attention to the end of the words

BulletLinguistic elements encode relationships between words

BulletAvoid exceptions

BulletUnderlying semantic relationships should be marked overtly and clearly

BulletGrammatical markers should make semantic sense


The psycholinguistic theory was made and accumulated after speculation of the behavioral theory. For more information on this theory, go to

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Page Last Updated on 11/3/04