Monday, 3 November 2014

I just made a new Voki. See it here:

I just made a new Voki. See it here:
Subject: English and its Teaching III
 Topic: Essay on FLA
Student: MarĂ­a Gabriela Villar
 Deadline:September18th,2014. ____________________________________________________________________________ Possessing a language is what distinguishes human beings from other animals, yet the acquisition of language in children is not perfectly understood. Prior to Chomsky’s theory of First Language Acquisition (FLA) language was considered not knowledge but behavior. Most explanations involve either the observation that children mimic what they hear or the assumption that human beings have a natural ability to understand grammar. In fact, by observing our own children’s experience regarding language, we may well agree with the behaviorist point of view. All babies start making sounds like “da” “ba” that they later associate with certain object according to the intervention of an adult. I was astonished when I heard my daughter saying “agua” with an outstretched arm; it was one of Ana Julia’s first words by the age of 9 months. I associated that fact with stimuli –responses –reinforcing stimuli behaviorist theory. She used to spend most of the time with a caretaker who had a girl who was five months older than Ana. I believed that she was imitating the caretaker’s daughter whenever she wanted some water. What is more, I was strongly convinced that children development of language ability depended on the quality of INPUT they received. My daughter received floods ofINPUT so that she spoke very well at the age of 2 years old.
 However, if we observe other children the process is more or less the same independently of adults’ reinforcement and it follows an accurate order. The time of language acquisition can be described by the following timeline: cooing(0-5 months) , babbling ( 5-8 months), one word utterance( first birthday), two- word utterances ( 1 and a half ),telegraphic period ( 2-3 years old),after that period the development of language and incorporation of grammar structures occur at high speed. The question is how children can master any language by the age of 6.
 Chomsky’s classic critique of behaviorism was introduced through Chomsky’s key notion of “creativity” people produce sentences that they have never heard before. Human language is basically “unpredictable” and one stimulus has many responses .Behaviorist B.F. Skinner originally proposed that language must be learned and cannot be a module. The mind consisted of sensorimotor abilities as well as laws of learning that govern gradual changes in an organism’s behavior. Noam Chomsky challenged this belief by arguing that children learn languages that are governed by highly subtle and abstract principles, and they do so without explicit instruction or any other environmental clues. Therefore language acquisition must depend on an innate specific module that he puts metaphorically as a black box, called the Language Acquisition Device (LAD). Something comes into the black box and something goes out of it; by observing what comes out it is possible to arrive at some understanding of the process. Much of the debate in language acquisition has attempted to test these once revolutionary and controversial ideas. Exposure to language is required for a language to be acquired, and thus environment and nurture are not entirely left out of the equation.
However, this theory states that a child is born with an innate predisposition to acquire and learn language. This biological innateness for language is the end result of a language acquisition device (LAD), which Chomsky invokes through the idea of a Universal Grammar (UG).Universal grammar is present in the child’s mind as a system of principles and parameters. Through exposure to any particular linguistic environment, parameters are set and grammar for that particular language is built. The Universal Grammar acts as a menu, giving potential for all the differing rules observed throughout the world's languages. Chomsky also distinguishes a period “a deadline” before which the innate parameters must have been exposed to language input .This period last from birth to puberty. Beyond puberty it would no longer be possible to acquire a grammar in a typical way. That critical period is taken into account for SLA as well. There are many theories about how children acquired their First Language. Brunner states that the interaction with children’s parents is very important and that they provide a Language Acquisition Support System (LASS) for the child. The LASS recognizes that people do not acquire and learn language in isolation. The LASS supports and shapes language as it establishes both general and specific cultural norms and cultural expectations. The LASS educates the child, sometimes indirectly, sometimes directly, about the social rules of language as it is used. To sum up, there seems to be a combination of the different theories that complement each other.           
However, I think that Chomsky is the one who manages to explain why any children is able to succeed in one of the most complex intellectual challenges as to learn any language in a short period of time and whatever his context is. If we were not born with a genetic capacity to develop language we would not be able to acquire it.