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As we know there are many theories which tell as how children learn and how they acquire language. Some of the most important are:


The work of Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) has become the foundation of much research and theory in cognitive development over the past several decades, particularly of what has become known as Social Development Theory.
Vygotsky's theories stress the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognitionVygotsky, 1978), as he believed strongly that community plays a central role in the process of "making meaning."

If you want find out more about Vygotsky's theory and Foreign Language Learning

His theory into practice


The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:

  • Linguistic intelligence ("word smart")
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
  • Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
  • Musical intelligence ("music smart")
  • Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
  • Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
  • Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

If you want find out more about GardnerĀ“s leraning theory


Click here if you want learn about Language Acquisition Theories.

3.1 Bruner.

The psychologist, Jerome Bruner(5), holds that while there very well may be, as Chomsky suggests, a Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, there must also be a Language Acquisition Support System, or LASS. He is referring to the family and entourage of the child.
If we watch closely the way a child interacts with the adults around her, we will see that they constantly provide opportunities for her to acquire her mother - tongue. Mother or father provide ritualised scenarios - the ceremony of having a bath, eating a meal, getting dressed, or playing a game - in which the phases of interaction are rapidly recognised and predicted by the infant.
It is within such clear and emotionally charged contexts that the child first becomes aware of the way in which language is used. The utterances of the mother or father are themselves ritualised, and accompany the activity in predictable, and comprehensible ways. Gradually, the child moves from a passive position to an active one, taking over the movements of the caretaker, and, eventually, the language as well.
Bruner cites the example of a well-known childhood game, in which the mother, or other caretaker, disappears and then reappears. Through this ritual, which at first may be accompanied by simple noises, or 'Bye-bye .... Hello', and later by lengthier commentaries, the child is both learning about separation and return and being offered a context within which language, charged with emotive content, may be acquired. It is this reciprocal, and affective nature of language that Chomsky appears to leave out of his hypotheses.
Bruner's conception of the way children learn language is taken a little further by John Macnamara (6), who holds that children, rather than having an in-built language device, have an innate capacity to read meaning into social situations. It is this capacity that makes them capable of understanding language, and therefore learning it with ease, rather than an LAD.

3.2 Chomsky.

Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known and the most influential linguist of the second half of the Twentieth Century. He has made a number of strong claims about language : in particular, he suggests that language is an innate faculty - that is to say that we are born with a set of rules about language in our heads which he refers to as the 'Universal Grammar'. The universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages build. If a Martian linguist were to visit Earth, he would deduce from the evidence that there was only one language, with a number of local variants. Chomsky gives a number of reasons why this should be so. Among the most important of these reasons is the ease with which children acquire their mother tongue. He claims that it would be little short of a miracle if children learnt their language in the same way that they learn mathematics or how to ride a bicycle. This, he says, is because :

Children are exposed to very little correctly formed language. When people speak, they constantly interrupt themselves, change their minds, make slips of the tongue and so on. Yet children manage to learn their language all the same. This claim is usually referred to as the Argument from Poverty of the Stimulus.

Children do not simply copy the language that they hear around them. They deduce rules from it, which they can then use to produce sentences that they have never heard before. They do not learn a repertoire of phrases and sayings, as the behaviourists believe, but a grammar that generates an infinity of new sentences.
Children are born, then, with the Universal Grammar wired into their brains. This grammar offers a certain limited number of possibilities - for example, over the word order of a typical sentence.

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