Language acquisition

language learningfirst language acquisitionacquisitionacquiredacquisition of languagechild language acquisitionlanguage-learninglearningacquireforeign language learning
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language (in other words, gain the ability to be aware of language and to understand it), as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate.wikipedia
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Language

languageslinguisticlinguistic diversity
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language (in other words, gain the ability to be aware of language and to understand it), as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate.
Humans acquire language through social interaction in early childhood, and children generally speak fluently by approximately three years old.

Language acquisition by deaf children

childrendeaf children acquiringlanguage acquisition in deaf children
This is distinguished from second-language acquisition, which deals with the acquisition (in both children and adults) of additional languages.
Signed languages like ASL (American Sign Language) are, however, acquired by signers of varying age and are atypical from a language acquisition perspective.

First language

mother tonguenative languagenative speaker
Language acquisition usually refers to first-language acquisition, which studies infants' acquisition of their native language, whether that be spoken language or signed language as a result of prelingual deafness, though it can also refer to bilingual first language acquisition (BFLA), which refers to an infant's simultaneous acquisition of two native languages.
That includes young immigrant children whose families have moved to a new linguistic environment as well as people who learned their mother tongue as a young child at home (rather than the language of the majority of the community), who may have lost, in part or in totality, the language they first acquired (see language attrition).

Second-language acquisition

second language acquisitionsecond language learningforeign language teaching
This is distinguished from second-language acquisition, which deals with the acquisition (in both children and adults) of additional languages.
Adults who learn a second language differ from children learning their first language in at least three ways: children are still developing their brains whereas adults have mature minds, and adults have at least a first language that orients their thinking and speaking.

Prelingual deafness

pre-lingual deafnessprelingually deafpre-lingual deaf
Language acquisition usually refers to first-language acquisition, which studies infants' acquisition of their native language, whether that be spoken language or signed language as a result of prelingual deafness, though it can also refer to bilingual first language acquisition (BFLA), which refers to an infant's simultaneous acquisition of two native languages.
First, the child experiences delayed social development that is in large part tied to delayed language acquisition.

Behaviorism

behavioristbehaviourismbehavior analysis
Proponents of behaviorism argued that language may be learned through a form of operant conditioning.
What was important for a behaviorist's analysis of human behavior was not language acquisition so much as the interaction between language and overt behavior.

Competition model

competition
Emergentist theories, such as MacWhinney's competition model, posit that language acquisition is a cognitive process that emerges from the interaction of biological pressures and the environment.
The competition model is a psycholinguistic theory of language acquisition and sentence processing, developed by Elizabeth Bates and Brian MacWhinney (1981).

Grammar

grammaticalgrammaticallyrules of language
Otherwise, they argue, it is extremely difficult to explain how children, within the first five years of life, routinely master the complex, largely tacit grammatical rules of their native language.
The vast majority of the information in the grammar is – at least in the case of one's native language – acquired not by conscious study or instruction but by hearing other speakers.

Brian MacWhinney

MacWhinneyMacWhinney, Brian
Emergentist theories, such as MacWhinney's competition model, posit that language acquisition is a cognitive process that emerges from the interaction of biological pressures and the environment. This position has been championed by David M. W. Powers, Elizabeth Bates, Catherine Snow, Anat Ninio, Brian MacWhinney, Michael Tomasello, Michael Ramscar, William O'Grady, and others.
He specializes in first and second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and the neurological bases of language, and he has written and edited several books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on these subjects.

Speech perception

perceptionprocessacoustic landmarks and distinctive features
There are two main guiding principles in first-language acquisition: speech perception always precedes speech production and the gradually evolving system by which a child learns a language is built up one step at a time, beginning with the distinction between individual phonemes.
Infants begin the process of language acquisition by being able to detect very small differences between speech sounds.

Elizabeth Bates

Bates, E.Elizabeth Ann Bates
Since 1980, linguists studying children, such as Melissa Bowerman, and psychologists following Jean Piaget, like Elizabeth Bates and Jean Mandler, came to suspect that there may indeed be many learning processes involved in the acquisition process, and that ignoring the role of learning may have been a mistake. This position has been championed by David M. W. Powers, Elizabeth Bates, Catherine Snow, Anat Ninio, Brian MacWhinney, Michael Tomasello, Michael Ramscar, William O'Grady, and others.
She was an internationally renowned expert and leading researcher in child language acquisition, psycholinguistics, aphasia, and the neurological bases of language, and she authored 10 books and over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on these subjects.

Second language

L2 speakersL2second-language
Input in the linguistic context is defined as "All words, contexts, and other forms of language to which a learner is exposed, relative to acquired proficiency in first or second languages".
For example, linguist Eric Lenneberg used second language to mean a language consciously acquired or used by its speaker after puberty.

Verbal Behavior

language acquisitionVerbal Behavior (book)Verbal Behaviour
In B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behaviour (1957), he suggested that the successful use of a sign, such as a word or lexical unit, given a certain stimulus, reinforces its "momentary" or contextual probability.
Chomsky pointed out that children acquire their first language without being explicitly or overtly "taught" in a way that would be consistent with behaviorist theory (see Language acquisition and Poverty of the stimulus), and that Skinner's theories of "operants" and behavioral reinforcements are not able to account for the fact that people can speak and understand sentences that they have never heard before.

Anat Ninio

This position has been championed by David M. W. Powers, Elizabeth Bates, Catherine Snow, Anat Ninio, Brian MacWhinney, Michael Tomasello, Michael Ramscar, William O'Grady, and others.
She specializes in the interactive context of language acquisition, the communicative functions of speech, pragmatic development, and syntactic development.

Elissa L. Newport

Elissa NewportNewport
Some language acquisition researchers, such as Elissa Newport, Richard Aslin, and Jenny Saffran, emphasize the possible roles of general learning mechanisms, especially statistical learning, in language acquisition.
She specializes in language acquisition and developmental psycholinguistics, focusing on the relationship between language development and language structure, and most recently on the effects of pediatric stroke on the organization and recovery of language.

Noam Chomsky

ChomskyChomsky, NoamChomskyan
Skinner's behaviourist idea was strongly attacked by Noam Chomsky in a review article in 1959, calling it "largely mythology" and a "serious delusion." Nativists such as Noam Chomsky have focused on the hugely complex nature of human grammars, the finiteness and ambiguity of the input that children receive, and the relatively limited cognitive abilities of an infant.
He bases his argument on observations about human language acquisition, noting that there is a "poverty of the stimulus"—enormous gap between the linguistic stimuli to which children are exposed and the rich linguistic competence they attain.

Jenny Saffran

Jenny R. SaffranSaffran
Some language acquisition researchers, such as Elissa Newport, Richard Aslin, and Jenny Saffran, emphasize the possible roles of general learning mechanisms, especially statistical learning, in language acquisition.
She specializes in language acquisition and early cognitive development, and she also conducts research on music cognition.

Andrew Radford (linguist)

Radford, A.Radford, AndrewStructure building model of child language
In the 1990s within the Principles and Parameters framework, this hypothesis was extended into a maturation-based Structure building model of child language regarding the acquisition of functional categories.
Andrew Radford is a British linguist known for his work in syntax and child language acquisition.

Michael Tomasello

Tomasello
This position has been championed by David M. W. Powers, Elizabeth Bates, Catherine Snow, Anat Ninio, Brian MacWhinney, Michael Tomasello, Michael Ramscar, William O'Grady, and others.
He works on child language acquisition as a crucially important aspect of the enculturation process.

Melissa Bowerman

Bowerman, MelissaBowerman
Since 1980, linguists studying children, such as Melissa Bowerman, and psychologists following Jean Piaget, like Elizabeth Bates and Jean Mandler, came to suspect that there may indeed be many learning processes involved in the acquisition process, and that ignoring the role of learning may have been a mistake.
Within the field of language acquisition, she specialized in the relationships between language and cognition, language and spatial representation, and language and event representation.

Psychological nativism

nativistnativisminnate
Nativists such as Noam Chomsky have focused on the hugely complex nature of human grammars, the finiteness and ambiguity of the input that children receive, and the relatively limited cognitive abilities of an infant. Considerations such as those have led Chomsky, Jerry Fodor, Eric Lenneberg and others to argue that the types of grammar the child needs to consider must be narrowly constrained by human biology (the nativist position).
In The Blank Slate (2002), Pinker similarly cites the linguistic capabilities of children, relative to the amount of direct instruction they receive, as evidence that humans have an inborn facility for speech acquisition (but not for literacy acquisition).

Eric Lenneberg

Eric H. LennebergLenneberg, Eric
Considerations such as those have led Chomsky, Jerry Fodor, Eric Lenneberg and others to argue that the types of grammar the child needs to consider must be narrowly constrained by human biology (the nativist position).
Eric Heinz Lenneberg (19 September 1921 – 31 May 1975) was a linguist and neurologist who pioneered ideas on language acquisition and cognitive psychology, particularly in terms of the concept of innateness.

Developmental psychology

developmental psychologistchild psychologychild psychologist
Language acquisition has been studied from the perspective of developmental psychology and neuroscience, which looks at learning to use and understand language parallel to a child's brain development.
Within these three dimensions are a broad range of topics including motor skills, executive functions, moral understanding, language acquisition, social change, personality, emotional development, self-concept, and identity formation.

Merge (linguistics)

Merge
A Merge (linguistics)-based Theory.
In terms of a merge-base theory of language acquisition, complements and specifiers are simply notations for first-merge (= "complement-of" [head-complement]), and later second-merge (= "specifier-of" [specifier-head], with merge always forming to a head.

Feral child

feral childrenwild childferal
However, case studies on abused, language deprived children show that they were extremely limited in their language skills, even after instruction.
They often seem mentally impaired and have almost insurmountable trouble learning a human language.