It would appear that language acquisition is linked to physical growth and social factors.
The Behaviourist Approach
- Children learn to speak by imitation.
- Parents then reinforce or correct their speech.
- Children don't imitate perfectly they may say words similar to what they hear around them.
- They over-extend language patterns they already know
- Past tense
- Steal > stealed > instead of stole
- Drive > drived > instead of drove
- This is not imitation as adults do not use these words.
The Cognitive Approach
- Children can only use certain linguistic structures when they understand fully the concepts surrounding them
- Jean Piaget linked language acquisition to child's maturation, to use linguistic structures they must understand the concept. A child can not use comparison of size if the child does not understand the concept of size.