Psycholinguistics and Child Language Acquisition
Psycholinguistics merges the fields of psychology and linguistics to study how people process language and how language use is related to underlying mental processes. Studies of children’s language acquisition and of second-language acquisition are psycholinguistic in nature. Psycholinguists work to develop models for how language is processed and understood, using evidence from studies of what happens when these processes go awry.
They also study language disorders such as aphasia – impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words and dyslexia – impairment of the ability to make out written language. It is the study of interrelationship of psychological and linguistic behaviour. Its most important area of investigation has been language acquisition. It has raised and has partly answered questions such as how do children acquire their mother tongue? How do they grow up linguistically and learn to handle the registral and stylistic varieties of their mother tongue effectively? How much of the linguistic system that they ultimately command, are they born with and how much do they discover on the basis of their exposure to that system? John D. Carroll states that this branch uses:
“Some aspects of psychology and some aspects of linguistics. It is confined to the study of how people use a language system and how they learnt it” By language acquisition is meant the process whereby children achieve a fluent control of their native tongue. By 1950, people thought that children imitated their elders and got language but now various theories have been presented. Some argue that it is the environmental impact and product of our experience and others discuss the innateness of language or Empiricist (Behaviorists) and Rationalists (Mentalists). The theoretical questions have focused on the issue of how we can account for the phenomenon of language development in children at all. Normal children have mastered most...
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