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Language Development

1. The three major interpretations of language development in children are the nativist interpretation, the behaviorist interpretation and the social interactionist interpretation. These three perspectives are related to the nature versus nurture debate. Some theorists believe that language acquisition occurs as a result of maturation in the brain's structure. This is the "nature" view. Other theorists believe that language development occurs as a result of children learning from their parents and other people in their environments. This is the "nurture" view. The nativist interpretation is based on the idea that nature plays a stronger role than nurture. Nativists argue that "the mind must have some preexisting structure in order to organize and interpret experience" (Hoff, 2009, p. 18). According to the nativist argument, this preexisting structure explains why children learn language quickly and effortlessly (Hoff, 2009, p. 18). By contrast, the behaviorist interpretation emphasizes nurture. According to the behaviorist view, children learn language because they receive rewards whenever they communicate successfully. The rewards include being praised and getting things that they want by asking for them. The evidence in support of the behaviorist view of language development is not very strong and thus the view is not widely used in the present day (Hoff, 2009, p. 18). The social interactionist interpretation emphasizes nurture but acknowledges that language development involves nature as well (Hoff, 2009, p. 18). According to the social interactionist view, children have an innate ability to use language. However, this ability does not develop on its own; it develops as a result of interactions between children and other people in their social environments.

2. The social interactionist perspective of language development makes a great deal of sense to me. This perspective claims that children learn language skills by inte...

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Language Development. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:29, July 24, 2024, from