Language Analysis Text A
Francis Katamba’s findings were that parents most frequently use the definite article ‘a’, whereas children acquire this after ‘ing’ and ‘s’ endings.This is supported by the fact that in Text A the mother encourages the use of the definite article, ‘a’, by repeating it before every noun. The mother has to give the child the definite article:
• M: Its not a cot. It’s a ….
• A: bed
However there is one scenario where the child uses the definite article
• M: Not a chair (1.0) a
• A: a TABLE
But this is the only instance where the definite article is used by Anna because she has been prompted to use it. So as Katamba identified, the parent uses the definite article much more frequently than her child What is more, the child fails to use the possessive ‘s’ A: Post Pat Chair or any ‘ing’ endings
Skinner said that language is acquired through operant conditioning. Those utterances that are rewarded/reinforced become stronger. Negative and positive reinforcements are used in this transcript:
• M: Good Girl -encourages a correct answer
• M: Not a chair –Highlights an incorrect answer
The operant conditioning provokes a correct answer from Anna on every occasion. This theory was supported also by Pavlov who believed that children learned through association.
Chomsky vs Bruner
The LAD cited by Chomsky refers to the predisposition of a child to language acquisition through a set of language learning capacities. Bruner argues that if this is the case there must also be a LASS (Language Acquisition Support System) such as parents or teachers that the child can learn from. It frames or structure the input of language and interaction in the child's LAD, in a manner to make system function. Bruner’s argument is supported in the text, following the use of questions by
• M: do you like beans
• A: I like beans
This was successful since later in the text the child announces unprompted: I like sausage. Without the mother asking, therefore the child has learnt from it’s experience of society’s support.
Vygotsky vs Piaget
Vygotsky’s ZPD ( Zone of Proximal Development) is similar to the LASS as it argues that a child can only perform language functions with the assistance of someone else. This person is the scaffolding process. He would argue that the child demonstrates the linguistic skill termed intermental learning. This is when a child can interact with the help of another person but cannot accomplish ‘decontextualisation’
Piaget argued that too much scaffolding/ teacher involvement hinders the child’s acquisition of language since it suppresses their cognitive functions. In relation to the text this is proved as the the topic management of M, prevents the child initiating or exploring her own ideas and language. M is testing the child on knowledge and recognition of nouns eg: M: Whats that? A: Post Pat chair. This is limiting the child from developing more complex syntactical structures. However, Brown and Fraser suggest that nouns are what children repeat most, as a test in 1963 demonstrated. So perhaps the mother is simply utilising this fact.
Brown - MLU
Brown uses MLU to judge the competence of a child’s use of language. Anna’s MLU is 1.6. Is this because scaffolding is hinder her expression or is Anna vocabulary simply limited by her age?
The child's language is very personal and egotistical ‘I like beans’. So the mother is important in teaching the child beyond this about other people in the wider world.
The child is in the telegraphic stage, and so the lack of complexity means certain parts of information are omitted. This makes the child's language very reliant upon pragmatics, that an adult caregiver is essential in interpreting, especially in the one-word utterance ‘Lunar’. If the adult was not present and perhaps, interaction was with another child, then language acquisition would be slower as the child may not understand the underlying context. The parent controls the topic management, therefore the child is grammatically only developing declarative sentences, not interrogatives.
The mother uses a similar method to teacher - scribe, but for the acquisition of spoken language. M asks what the object is and once identified, then reinforces this with the written text.
Although the child understands concepts of ‘he’ and ‘him’ when used by the mother, she does not use them herself. This suggests that the child understands the context and is likely to use pronouns in future situations, thus the adult caregiver is a source of information.