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    Hi everyone!

    I need urgent help with this essay: "what, if any, linguistic knowledge do humans process at birth?"
    how would you approach this question?

    Open to ANY ideas!

    Thank you
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    (Original post by Buenoo93)
    Hi everyone!

    I need urgent help with this essay: "what, if any, linguistic knowledge do humans process at birth?"
    how would you approach this question?

    Open to ANY ideas!

    Thank you
    I suppose it depends how you want to approach the question. Do you take, for example, a behaviourist perspective and say that everyone is born as a blank slate arguing therefore that, at birth, children have no linguistic knowledge until they begin to learn from experience.

    Skinner uses the behavourist theory saying how children learn by imitation and reinforcement (operant conditioning). It emphasises performance: children imitate what they hear and this will be reinforced when they are correct, eventually shaping vocalisations into words.

    There are criticisms to this theory in that it would take too long to learn in this way and the fact that parents do not consistently reinforce speech this way. Think of baby talk: parents making odd, non-word sounds does not teach speech.

    The argument that humans are born with linguistic ability was supported by Noam Chomsky and his nativist theory. He says that children are born with a build in Language Acquisition Device (LAD) and the ability to learn language is hardwired into the brain. This is supported by the fact that all children learn language in similar stages and that linguistic universals exist in every language. Also, all babies babble, even deaf babies, suggesting the ability to learn speech is innate.

    I would definitely take a nature/nurture type structure to your essay. I learnt this as extra theory when studying Language Acquisition in chimps for AS last year. Hopefully it helps!
 
 
 
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