History and Development of Language Acquisition Theory
There have been many theorists in the field of Neuroscience and Psychology, who have been trying to find and derive a set of theories that brings in the idea of how the language is been learned by an individual. There have been â€œnâ€ number of researches taken and taking place in order to bring the evident picture of learning of language. Various theorists proposed and concluded various reasons for an individual learning a language. Some theorists came with the fact that language is learned by the child by listening to their elders speaking and some argued that language is been learned through sensory inputs. Behaviorists concluded that the child learns language by operant conditioning and few suggested that it is been learned through syntax(by understanding the real meaning of a word). However, every theorist’s conclusion made clear that the language is learned by an infant is the urge of interaction with the immediate outer world and to contribute active participation with its environment. There are three common language acquisition theories, namely, the nativist theory, the interactionist theory(sociocultural theory), and the learning theory.
The Interactionist Language Acquisition Theory
This theory is otherwise known as Social Interactionist Theory(SIT), which speaks the fact that the learning of language is facilitated through social human interaction. It emphasizes that an individualâ€™s development is made by the society in which one thrives in. This theory has been developed in the late 20th century and has been accepted widely as it clearly explains the sociological perspectives that have been proved scientifically which are normally failed by other approaches. As an advocate of Pragmatism, Herbert Mead is considered to be the leader of interactionism development. Later on, Herber Meadâ€™s work was further expanded and the term â€œsymbolic interactionismâ€ was coined by HervertBlumer.This theory gives importance to both biological and environmental factors and strongly evident these factors to be the reason by which an individual learns the language in the first place itself. This is how it combines both the nativist and the socialist approach. The theory says that the environment influences heavily and is responsible for the speed at which one learns the language. It is suggested that language is learned by the interaction of the child with the environment. For example, if the child grows with the mother rather than the father, it tends to learn the word â€œmaâ€ than learning the word â€œpaâ€. More specifically, the infant tends to learn language from the interaction between their linguistically knowledgeable elders. This theory largely relies on the development of the Socio-cultural theory of Lev Vygotsky. His theory has lead to the main development, The Zone of Proximal Development(ZDP). It describes that the learning of language is through social interaction with the immediate environment. It was further studied by Jerome Bruner and developed a model called the â€œSocio-cultural modelâ€. SIT is considered to represent the specification of communicative intent and semantic content primarily and secondarily, respectively. It is said to believe that it combines both â€œTraditional behaviorâ€ and â€œlinguistic- semanticâ€ approaches to produce any language. It describes the importance of the environment with which an individualâ€™s acquisition is shaped and facilitates human development. It specifies the acquisition of children than the adults.
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