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Development of Language Skills

Scholars share the conviction that key aspects of personality and ability, including linguistic and communication ability, are formulated in the earliest stages of life. But they are divided on the role of human intuition on one hand and heredity or environment have in childhood development of knowledge, aptitude, and skill. Equally, they are divided on how skills emerge and develop. A number of different theories have been advanced that are meant to explain language acquisition.

To what extent early speech expresses intelligent thought was one of Piaget's concerns (Piaget, 1965), and that issue has become almost a commonplace constant of language theory. Bohannon and Warren-Leubecker (1989) summarize five theoretical approaches to explaining language development: behavioral, linguistic, cognitive, information-processing, and social-interactionist. The first three are distinctive and well established, while the latter two owe something to the more established modalities. Cognitive and behaviorist theories impinge greatly on information-processing and social-interactionist theories. The linguistic approach relies on the idea that human beings possess a kind of internal grammar that drives the process of language development (Chomsky, 1969). Cognitive language-development theory says that the context in which language is learned is decisive. "[C]hildren do not grammatically mark relationships [i.e., meanings] in their spontaneous productive speech until they know the concept that the marker denotes" (Bohannon and Luebecker, 1989, p. 200). The concepts are conveyed by environmental cues, e.g., given by mothers. The behavioral approach owes much to B.F. Skinner's ideas about conditioning subjects. The idea is to reinforce acceptable language choices with positive response, so as to encourage the development of such choices. Bohannon and Warren-Leubecker cite "imitation training" (1989, p. 192) of children to "use the targeted linguisti...

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Development of Language Skills. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:34, July 04, 2022, from