Psychology of Language.


Their natural born, biological attributes may more important to their acquisition of language than the way they are nurtured. Chomsky believes that children have an innate ability to learn language and that this ability only needs to be triggered by verbal input from their environment. (Chomsky, 1972) Two other prevalent theories on language development in children are Piaget’s idea of cognitive constructivism and Vygotsky’s concept of social constructivism and language. Piaget suggests that language is simply one of the ways children represent the world with which they are familiar. It reflects but does not contribute to the development of thinking. Piaget believed that cognitive development precedes the development of language. (1955) Vygotsky believed that language impacts such that language is a form of social communication that gradually promotes both language itself and cognition. (1978, 1985) In general, these theories recognize that children are co-constructors in their world and that their development of language is a part of their holistic development that emerges from their cognitive, social and emotional interactions.

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We are now well aware that male and female brains are different. Anatomical and chemical differences begin early in development due to genetic and hormonal events and continue throughout life, but understanding these differences is difficult. We recognize the importance of considering sex differences when designing and interpreting studies, but our understanding of the differences is so unclear that interpreting the results is full of pitfalls. (Becker, J. B. et al. 2005) This is equally as true in studies of gender differences in language acquisition as elsewhere. Although much of the work on gender differences in language acquisition is speculative, some information is known.

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