Essay on Three Main Theories of Child Language Acquisition

901 Words 4 Pages
There are three main theories of child language acquisition; Cognitive Theory, Imitation and Positive Reinforcement, and Innateness of Certain Linguistic Features (Linguistics 201). All three theories offer a substantial amount of proof and experiments, but none of them have been proven entirely correct. The search for how children acquire their native language in such a short period of time has been studied for many centuries. In a changing world, it is difficult to pinpoint any definite specifics of language because of the diversity and modification throughout thousands of millions of years.
One of the first recorded studies was in 7th century B.C. by an Egyptian Pharaoh named Psammetichus who believed that language was inborn, or
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Akbar believed that language was developed by listening, thus a child could not talk on his or her own. His belief seemed to be proven correct after his experiment, although it is not entirely true. The children isolated by Psammetichus and King James V were able to acquire speech without interaction. It could also be concluded that the first two experiments were flawed, but there is no precise evidence to back that conclusion up. Considering those experiments were thousands of years ago, with no real evidence they were even performed.
After many years, the experiments of children weren’t as secretive so people found out and were able to witness the tests firsthand. One child by the name of Victor of Aveyron, a feral child, was found in the woods in France in 1797 and was captured in 1800 for experimentation and documentation. It was believed that he had lived in the forests for almost his whole life and had to learn how to fend for himself, it was also documented that he was mute but he was able to hear (Victor). Another more recent, not so much experiment, but discovery was of Genie Wiley who was found in 1970 at the age of 13 with almost no social interaction except for her immediate family. She was beaten by her father if she made noises so when she was discovered she really only seemed to recognize her name and the word “sorry”. Many people tried to help and they did for awhile but when she was put into an orphanage, she went into a 5 month

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