We have finally started dealing with First Language Acquisition. Last class we discussed the most important aspects of the Nativist Position: we went over concepts such as Language Acquisition Device, Universal Grammar, Principles and Parameters, the Poverty of the Stimulus Argument, States of the Language Faculty, etc.
What I want you to do during the holidays is:
- write an essay on FLA... here I'll write some questions that you can use to trigger your brainstorming:
- What do you think about Chomsky's account of Language Acquisition? What are, in your opinion, its main strengths? Do you think it has any weaknesses?
- Do you find the study of FLA interesting? How so?
- What do you think are the questions that any theory of FLA should answer?
- Does the "innateness" hypothesis find any kind of support from the example of people born blind, deaf and/or dumb? (remember the book I recommended "The Story of my Life", by Hellen Keller)
- In what ways are learning to speak and learning ot read/write different?
- How do "walking" and "speaking"compare?
- What would you regard as conclusive evidence that a child has uttered his/her first word?
- Can you describe 2 noticeable features of caretaker speech? How is this relevant to explain FLA?
Remember these varied questions are not a guide to be answered. Rather, they are a reminder of how complex the topic is. Make sure to re read the material from the bunch, do some research of your own and, especially, do some thinking of your own. Then, and only then, start working on your essay.