Behaviorism vs Nativism

Topics: Language acquisition, Noam Chomsky, Linguistics Pages: 3 (722 words) Published: June 14, 2012
Behaviorism Vs Nativism

Due to the complexity of language acquisition study, different points of view about this issue have been discussed to create several approaches. Many theories have been emerging during the past of the year, with the purpose of trying to explain how human beings acquire their first language. Among these theories, the Behaviorist and the Nativist are considered the most basic and important at the beginning of children language acquisition study. The behaviorism or learning approach was founded by J.B. Watson, and some of its principal supporters were Leonard Bloomfield, O.N. Mowrer,B.F. Skinner, and A.W. Staats. Behaviorist studies both in psychology and linguistics originate in the beginning of the 20th century, then It received a considerable trust from the educational world at the 1950s. At the linguistic point of view this theory focuses basically on those aspects which are observable in the human linguistic behavior, the responses, and the relationship between those responses and events in the world surrounding them. Thus, it is important to consider the presence of stimuli through an organism (human being) in order to produce a response, which can be reinforced. The Skinner`s theory (classic verbal behavior) explain the operant conditioning approach, “verbal behavior, like other behavior is controlled by its consequences. When consequences are rewarding, behavior is maintained and is increased in strength and perhaps frequency”. ___________________ For instance, when a child wants to play and he asks his father for his ball, saying “balloon”, then, if his father gives him the ball this utterance is reinforced, and would be conditioned by the constant repetition. It is important to add Pavlov’s experiment which indicates that stimulus and response work together. It explains that the babies obtain native language habits via varied babblings which resemble the appropriate words repeated by a person or object near him. Since for his...
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