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Lesson 8

The Psychology of Language


Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this lesson, you should be able to:
1.

Complete a diagram depicting the acquisition schedule

2.

Complete a diagram depicting the ways human beings learn language

3.

Explain in writing the reasons for supporting and not supporting language
learning based on four processes

4.

Describe in your own words how human beings are able to use language

Stages of
Learner
Language
Development
The
Psychology of
Language

Mechanisms
of Language
Acquisition
Children
Construct
Grammars
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STAGES IN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION


Children, under different cultural and social circumstances, have the same
developmental stages when it comes to using language. What are the stages
that children go through before they finally become competent users of a
language? Read Yule chapter 13 and complete the following diagram:

Stages

Features

Cooing
and
babbling
Now compare your answers on the previous page with the following stages:

MECHANISMS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

There are things in life we should be taught to do and there are also things in
life that we do not really have to be taught to do in order for us to survive.
Riding a bicycle and using a computer, for instance, are some of the
activities that have to be taught before we could continue doing them while
conjoining sentences, asking questions, using appropriate pronouns and
other functions of language are examples of activities that most of us could
continue doing without being taught in the first place. This is aptly summed
up by Fromkin, Rodman and Hyams (2003: 342) that We are designed to
walkand pretty much the same is true of language. Nobody is taught
language. In fact you cant prevent the child from learning it.

So how do we learn language? In other words, what makes us able to use


language? What are the mechanisms involved in acquiring a language? Read
Fromkin, Rodman and Hyams (2003) pages 342 until 349 and complete the
following diagram depicting the ways humans learn language.

_______________________

Imitation

Mechanisms of
Language
Acquisition
______________________

_____________________

Do children learn language through the four processes? Read Fromkin,


Rodman and Hyams pages 342 347 and then explain your reasons in the
following tables:
Reasons for supporting the theories Reasons for not supporting the
that children learn through imitation theories that children learn through
imitation
1
1.

2
2.

Reasons for supporting the theories Reasons for not supporting the
that
children
learn
through theories that children learn through
reinforcement
reinforcement

1.

2.

Reasons for supporting the theories Reasons for not supporting the
that children learn through analogy
theories that children learn through
analogy
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1
1.

2
2.

Reasons for supporting the theories Reasons for not supporting the
that children learn through structured theories that children learn through
input
structured input

1.

2.

CHILDREN CONSTRUCT GRAMMARS

As stated earlier by Fromkin, Rodman and Hyams (2003), children are not
explicitly taught how to use language. Yet, they know how to use some of the
rules and construct utterances that are understood by others when they use
the language. It is believed that children learn language from input the
language they hear around them, as used among adults in their daily
interactions.
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But what about children who are born deaf? How are they able to become
fluent sign language users? Read Fromkin et al. pages 347 and 348 or Yule
page 6 to find out how human beings are able to use language. Write your
answer here:

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

Now, I am able to:


5.

Complete a diagram depicting the acquisition schedule

6.

Complete a diagram depicting the ways human beings learn language

7.

Explain in writing the reasons for supporting and not supporting language
learning based on four processes

8.

Describe in your own words how human beings are able to use language
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