The Theories Of First Language Acquisition Essay

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FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION (3 points)
Explain the three main theories of first language acquisition as we have studied them in this course (do not include Piaget as one of them). What are the limitations of the first two theories? How does the third better reflect the way we understand the acquisition of a first language?

The three main theories of first language acquisition we have studied in this course are the following:

Behaviorist Theory: States that first language acquisition is the result of correct responses to stimuli through a process of reinforcement. Children imitate sounds they hear and repeat the sounds when positively reinforced by the caregiver. This behavior is repeated by the child resulting in habit formation and ultimately leading to mastery of words, parts of speech, and phrases of a language.

Innatist Theory: States that first language acquisition is the result of making use of a inborn mental structure called the Language Acquisition Device. Children are born with a hardwiring of language that allows them to have an innate understanding of universal grammar and the ability to learn how to use any language when exposed to it as an infant.

Interactionist Theory: States that first language acquisition is the result of innate desire of children to communicate with others through language. Children are hardwired to learn a language but need to interact with more knowledgeable others in order to support language development.

The Behaviorist
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