Share
Explore BrainMass

Language Acquisition

Do you agree more with Chomsky's perspective that language is acquired through innate ability (language acquisition device), or Skinner's perspective that language is a learned behavior that gets conditioned and reinforced?

Solution Preview

Please see response below , which is also attached for active links (see Posting 139648.doc). I also attached a supplementary article that expands further on the ideas included in the response. I hope this helps and take care.

RESPONSE:

1. Do you agree more with Chomsky's perspective that language is acquired through innate ability (language acquisition device), or Skinner's perspective that language is a learned behavior that gets conditioned and reinforced?

This question is tapping the debate of nature (innate) versus nurture (learned) controversy, and there is at least some consensus that language acquisition is a little of both. Which one makes most sense to you? Where do you position yourself? Or, do you want to argue that taken together they make the most sense (Piaget and Bruner's later interactionist theories - see links in the attached response for further discussion).

Skinner is a behavioural psychologist and Chomsky a linguist, so their branches of science are different; thus, opposing language acquisition theories. Let's take a closer look at ...

Solution Summary

In this solution, the plausibility of Chomsky's perspective that language is acquired through innate ability (language acquisition device is compared to Skinner's perspective that language is a learned behavior that gets conditioned and reinforced. It includes an article that continues the comparison between Skinner and Chomsky's views on language acquisition, as well as references.

$2.19