Importance of the English Language in Present Day World Essay

Language is the source of communication. Its the way through which we share our ideas and thoughts with others. There are uncountable languages in this world. Because every country has their own national language, then they have different local languages spoken and understood by their people in different regions. Let’s talk about English. It is the language of England and has International Standard. Many people think English as American Language but it is not true.

In fact, when Columbus discovered America, he saw the country in the Stone Age with high illiteracy rate.

Those were the European and English people who brought education and knowledge even technology towards America. There are several factors that make us to learn English Language to go through in the current time. First of all, as I already mention, it has International Standard, that’s why everyone needs to learn English in order to get in touch on International Level.

If we see Educational field, we will find much of the syllabus is written in English.

Children are taught and encouraged to learn English on starting levels. And accordingly, as they promote to the next levels they study almost all the subjects in English. We see the Internet and find more than 90% of websites written and created in English. And even when you see some sites in other languages, they also give you the option to translate in English. All the research and studies you find will be written and typed in English.

All the information regarding each and everything contains English Language. There is another factor that make English very important in this world is it is the easiest language of the world to learn. Many people think that it is very difficult and confusing. But I suggest them to start and learn only for a week and they will feel easy with English. With good understanding and communication in English, we can travel around the globe. We get assistance and help in English in every part of world. You can test it by on line travel.

Better you visit some offices, companies, governmental organizations, and other departments, and you will see the importance of English as they hire the professional staff after getting know that whether the people they are hiring are good at English or not. This is the company’s will that their staff is not even well educated but also good English speaker, writer and Reader. Those who are still unaware about the importance of English. They should start learning English as a time will come when everything would be understood, spoken and written in English. Better watch some media and get the scope of English.

A Global Language: English Language Essay

English is an international language spoken all over the world that was originally borrowed from the world. If English is used as a global language, there might be some advantages related to communication and business. However, there are also several disadvantages in terms of losing mother tongue and taking time and money. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages, so English should be made the global language.

The first essential affirmative point is communication. There are more than 200 countries in the world. If everyone could speak English, they may have the ability to communicate with others whenever they are in strange countries.

Furthermore, using English, people can have more friends, widen peer relationships with foreigners and can not get lost. Overall, English becomes a global language; people may have more chances in communication.Another crucial advantage is improving business. If English was spoken widespread and everyone could use it, they would likely have more opportunities in business. Foreign investments from rich countries might be supported to the poorer countries.

For instance, a company and its proponents would be able to discuss, understand each other and develop the projects together.

The first disadvantage of issue is losing mother language. If English used as a global language, people may use it both at work and daily life. Children and teenagers might prefer to watch English cartoons or movies. Gradually, they make mistake when they use their mother languages. It can not be imagine if English is only one language in the world. Another serious negative point is taking much time and money. Old generation might need to study English to communicate with the youth ages. In addition, educational curriculum system could be changed to be suitable for the reform. These processes need quite long time and a large amount of money.

In conclusion, using English as a global language has both advantages and disadvantages. It is useful for communicating and business while could lead to be lost mother tongue and take much time and money.

Histroy of English Language Essay

History of English language will explain, why learning English as a second language is difficult without proper instruction, even though basic components are same. Throughout its history English has been influenced by the varieties of language. Living languages never remain static. Every language is the product of change and continues to change as long as it is spoken. Only dead languages like Latin or Sanskrit change no longer, since no one speaks them now. The changes, while they do occur are gradual and slow and hence almost imperceptible.

Over a span of centuries, however, their cumulative effect is appreciable.

Shakespeare English is difficult for modern readers; Chaucer’s is almost is incomprehensible without formal instruction. The History of the English language: The origin During the Roman invasion, the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. English belongs, in all its stages, to the Indo European family of languages, formerly called Indo-Germanic, and still earlier Aryan. Indo European is the name given to the set of linguistic forms from which nearly all European languages as well as those of Persia and very large part of India can be shewn to descend.

The historians have used the word Indo-European because it merely suggests that the languages it comprises cover most of the Europe and India mark the length of its confines. The predominance and pioneering s of the position of the German Philologist English is one of the most important languages in the world today. More the an 350 million people in Great Britain are native speakers. In addition 150 million non-native speakers of English are there. English however is not spoken by large number of people in the world . Chinese, for instance spoken by more than 880 million people in China alone.

Among the western languages English has the advantage in numbers. Spanish in spoken by about 210 million people. Russian is spoken about 200 million people Portuguese is spoken about 105 million people etc . Importance of a language is associated with political role played by the nations using it and their influence in the international affairs. Several reasons may be adduced for current importance and popularity of English. Historically the colonial expansion of the British Empire over which the sun never sets, was responsible for the imposition of the English on aspiring natives.

Even after achieving independence many countries like Nigeria, India, Ghana continue to use English as official language for several reasons. The nature of the English language and its tolerance to change has made it very popular. One of the major assets of the English language is the mixed character or its vocabulary. English being the Germanic descent has many words from the Germanic languages viz, German Dutch, Flemish, Danish, Scandinavian, Swedish, Norwegian. It also shares a large number of words with the European languages derived from Latin viz,French Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Hence English seems very familiar to anyone who speaks a Germanic and Roman language. Instead of making new words chiefly by the combination of existing elements, English has shown the marked tendency to go outside its own linguistic resources and borrow from other languages. These words have been so well assimilated into English the no one ever remembers or recognizes that they have been borrowed. Any etymological dictionary will show that English has borrowed from almost every language of the world; Hebrew Arabic Hindi Tamil,Malay,WestAfrica,Chinese,Brazil etc.

This is the reason why we call English a cosmopolitan vocabulary which is an asset to any language which seeks to attain international use. Modern linguists therefore accept the dynamic nature of language. One of their axioms is that there are no pure forms of language, for language, for languages keep changing all the time. If English had remained pure over the centuries, we should still be speaking the language of Chaucer. Throughout the history, the English language has accepted with comparative equanimity words from other languages with which it has been in contact.

There have been periods in which speakers and writers have indulged in large-scale use of foreign words. In general, most people will agree that the foreign contribution to English has been useful. Some languages avoid as far as possible the use of alien terms; instead they substitute new words made up of native elements. English however, has always accepted foreign words. Many hundreds of words of non-English origin are now part and parcel of the English vocabulary, indistinguishable from the native stock except to those with some knowledge of etymology.

Of all the world languages, English has probably the vocabulary which is the most copious, heterogeneous and varied, at the same time this also one of the reason that learning English as second language becomes difficult. All the people, with whom its speakers have come in contact during more than thirteen centuries of its growth, have left permanent marks on the language. Some of the contacts have been deep and lasting like Greek, French and Latin. A study of the history of the English language, therefore, unfolds the panorama of English history-both social and political.

With an empire over which sun never sets, the English language has been particularly open to foreign influences. The Romans with whom the ancient Germanic tribes had dealings, the Romanized Britons, the Latin fathers of the church who were once eagerly studied the Danish and Norwegian invaders, the Norman French conquerors, the revival of ancient Latin and Greek classics at Renaissance, the Italian artists and men of letters of the 16th century the colonizing nations of the same century—all these have made their contributions to the English language.

Arab mathematicians from Spain have enriched the language: so have American Redskins and Indian sepoys. The Italianate Englishman of Queen Elizabeth’s time of whom Shakespeare made fun and famous writers like Dryden, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift have left something of value in the English word—hoard. It is no doubt, that such statement might fairly be made about other language and their history; but what stands out so remarkably about English is the abundance, the unparalleled variety and the length of the time during which foreign influences have been effective.

Further, no other language has so much copious and heterogeneous material. In historical linguistics the contribution of particular foreign language to another is referred to as borrowing . In common parlance, ‘borrowing’ means getting something form somebody on the understanding that it is to be returned. Luckily, this definition does not apply to words which are borrowed, never to be returned. Linguists wonder whether ‘stealing’ might be a more appropriate term for this phenomenon. As Haugen says” The borrowing takes place without the lender’s consent or even awareness and the borrower is under no obligation to repay the loan.

One might as well call it stealing, were it is not the owner is deprived of nothing and feels no urge to recover his goods. The process might be called adoption, for the speaker does adopt element from a second language into its own. Even though English language has adopted variety of languages into it, the basic structure of the English language has not changed. English language’s basic structure is, it has fixed word order. Due to more than two hundred years of English rule, Tamil has borrowed copiously from English. Now these words are not recognized as foreign at all.

One hears an uneducated Tamil speaker use words like office school, ticket, gate, bus etc. In fact, practically no one remembers the Tamil equivalent of these words. The problem arises for the second language learners only when they were asked to use the language or reproducing it. Tamil is Dravidian language spoken by more than 65 million people. It is the official language of Tamil nadu state in India and one of the official languages of Srilanka also. Large Tamil-speaking communities also reside in South Africa,Singapore, Malaysia and the other Indian ocean islands.

The earliest Tamil inscriptions dates from 200B. C. The literature in the language have a 2,000-year history. There are 247 letters in the Tamil alphabet. The 247 letters in the Tamil alphabet can be divided into 12 vowels 18 consonants, 216 vowel consonants and 1 special letter. The vowel consonants are formed by combining the vowel letters and consonants letters. The vowel-consonants letters also have long and short sounds. The History of English is divided into three ages. Old English, Middle English and Modern English.

There are 26 letters and 44 sounds, in that there 6 pure vowels and 18 diphthongs and 20 consonants in English language. Compared to Tamil language English has less number of letters ,but ironically language that has 247 letters(Tamil) has limited in terms of vocabulary, but English language that has 26 letters has million words. According THE HINDU newspaper which published an article duirng 2006, The department of Tamil language in the University of Madras has benn revising, enlarging and updating the Tamil lexicon.

During 1924-39, the University of Madras had Published the Tamil Lexicon in seven volumes comprising 124,405 entries. Such a dictionary was pioneering venture in the pre-independence period. Prof. Vaiyapuri Pillai had played a huge role in the complication and publication. There have been persistent demands for updating and expanding the lexicon. The many social, political and technological changes in the six-decade period have direct bearing on the Tamil language. It is in this background that the Department of Tamil language of the Madras University had out forth its plan to revise enlarge and update the lexicon.

The present Tamil lexicon, under preparation ,will come out in 10 volumes, comprising atleast 500,000 entries ,will be bilingual in nature and at the same time render the meaning chronologically. On top of the vast difference in the number of letters in their alphabet, the Tamil language also differs in many grammatical items compared to the English language. The earliest period of English was formerly called as ANGLO SAXON. The history of English language is divided into three main periods .

They are old English (from earliest writings till 1100) Middle English extends from about 1100A. D- 1450A. D, from 1450A. D till date its Modern English. The English language is spoken or read by the largest number of people in the world, for historical, political and economic reasons. First and foremost feature of English language is its extraordinary receptive and adaptable heterogeneousness-the varied ease and readiness with which it has taken to itself material from almost everywhere in the world and has made the new elements of language its own.

Throughout its history English has accepted with equinamity words from other languages with which it has been in contact. Foreign elements with ease and assimilated them all to its character. Though it is copiousness of vocabulary is outstanding. A second outstanding characteristic of English is simplicity of inflexion-the ease with which it indicates the relationship of words in a sentence with only the minimum of change in their shapes or variation of endings. A third quality of English is its relatively fixed-word order.

An inflected language like Latin or Russian can afford to be fairly free in the arrangement of its words, since the inflexions show clearly the proper relationship in the sentence and ambiguity is unlikely. Of all world languages, English has probably the vocabulary which is most copious, heterogeneous and varied. All the peoples with whom its speakers have come into contact during more than thirteen centuries of the growth, have left permanent marks on the language. Some of the contacts have been deep and lasting like those of ancient Rome and France.

Others have been casual like those of Spain or Czechoslovakia. During the Roman invasion, the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. While the Roman soldiers in town used Latin, the Britons in the countryside spoke Celtic. Later this was replaced by English. The history of the English language in Britain begins with the settlement of the Angels, Saxons and Jutes in Brtian. These three tribes came from the plains near Schelswing Holstein in North Germany. They had to encounter varying degrees of hostility from the Celts. For mutual protection the tribes combined into small kingdoms.

The most important among these were: Northumbria, Mercia. East Anglia, Wessex, Sussex, Essex and Kent. Under King Alfred Wessex enjoyed the leadership in learning. The English language of today reflects many centuries of developments. The political and social history of England has exerted a considerable impact on the language. The Christianizing of Britain in 597 brought English into contact with Latin civilization and many Latin words were added to the English vocabulary. Then the Scandinavian invasion resulted in considerable two people and their languages.

For two centuries after the Norman Conquest English remained the language of the lower classes. When English once more gained importance, it had been considerably changed from what it was in 1066. In a similar way the Hundred Years’ War, the rise of an important middle class, the Renaissance the development of the British empire, the growth of commerce and industry, science and literature have all contributed to make the English language what it is today. In short the English language reflects in its entire development the political, social and cultural history of the English people.

Why and When We Speak Spanish in Public by Myriam Marquez Essay

In today’s society, there are over thousands of different languages or dialects speak around the world. And because America is such a diverse country with many individuals capable of speaking two or more languages, they tend to forget the importance of speaking English in America. As an American living in America, it’s not important whether they speak English or not, but what’s important is which language they choose to represent themselves freely. Language is speaked in many forms.

Some people may grow up learning one language but choose to speak another and others might simply grow up speaking only one language.

As Chinese myself, I have been speaking Chinese for my whole life. My first language was Chinese and although I’ve learned to speak Japanese and English throughout my childhood, however, Chinese have become one of the most common languages I speak daily. Similar to me, my parents also prefer to speak Chinese although they’ve been living in America for the past ten years.

They are not exactly so called American, but they have gotten use to the life style in America that they understand nearly perfect English.

But my parents still speak to me in Chinese when I call them to ask about their days. They tell me about their work, their days, their lives in Chinese and they speak to their friends to their native language. One time I got curious and I tried to have a conversation with them in English. They started alright, speaking English with their deep Chinese accent, but before I realized it, it turned into Chinese conversation. I asked them the reason behind this logic and they told me that it’s because they couldn’t seem to find the right English words.

I wondered for a second what this meant and I finally realized that it’s because they are not familiar with English language like they are with Chinese. Although they have been living in America for a long time and have mastered English language, they choose to speak Chinese freely because they feel comfortable speaking in their first language. Language we speak in our free time is a choice we choose. During my class time, I speak with my teachers and classmates in English because I am in America receiving English education.

However, when I go home or hang out with my friends, I choose to communicate with them in Chinese because they all speak the same language as I do. It’s not because I don’t like to or couldn’t speak English, I just feel like it’s more convenient to speak Chinese because some words are easy to speak in Chinese. Have learned three languages throughout my life, I sometimes feel that I get languages mixed up. When I hang out with my Chinese friends and I want to tell them something funny have happened in my life that day, I could tell them smoothly and make them laugh as I pleased.

By in opposite if I tell this little story in English to my friends who didn’t speak Chinese, it was a little different. I wouldn’t know the translation to some of the Chinese words and the meanings will be completely different. This is why I choose to express myself in Chinese during my free time because it connects to my friends and family better. Because I live in America speaking English is a must, but during my off time or free time I would feel comfortable express myself in my native language. Language is used every single day. We use language to communicate, contact and connect.

For the immigrants who speak bilingually, English is what they use outside of the house. Inside the house, they tend to feel safer speaking the language of their own. My family and I like to go out sometimes for dinner and we tend to always choose a Chinese restaurant. This doesn’t mean that we don’t prefer or dislike American food; it’s simply because of the environment. In a Chinese restaurant it’s better to speak Chinese because almost half of the waiter doesn’t quietly speak perfect English. And it’s a way to start a communication with them if you know their native language.

It’s part of process of being friendly. If you speak the language of the waiter, they will be friendly to you because you have something in common with them. This is part of the nature. When my family and I walked into a Chinese restaurant and ask for their specials, it’s always nice to hear back a friendly response. Living in America and being an American sometimes is important to speak English, but depending on situations, choose to speak native language to communicate freely with one another can get each other closer.

Being Americans means we have the right of speech. People with different backgrounds have the right to choose which languages to speak during their own time. Being in America doesn’t reflect to the fact that all the people living here needs to use English to communicate with each other. Communication is a tool we use to tell each other things and this can be done in English or any other languages we prefer, as long as we feel comfortable with it.

The Main Theories in Second Language Acquisition Essay

1. Introduction

The language produced by learners learning a second language is extremely varied. It can range from one learner to another in regard to many factors. These variations can be accounted for by a number of ideas including: first language (L1) interface, age differences, motivation, self-confidence, aptitude, anxiety, gender and social distance. In this essay I will define SLA and then outline five of the main linguistic theories. These outlines will form the basis for my analysis of the differences in language that are produced by learners.

Finally, I will consider what level of impact these theories have and how they can account for these differences and, the many difficulties and successes that learners have on their way to learning a second language.

2. What is SLA and what accounts for the language produced by learners? Saville-Troike (2006: 2) defines SLA as not just the learning of a subsequent language to that learnt in childhood but also the study of the processes involved and of those who are learning it.

The language produced by learners changes as they learn the language and that language can differ from one student to another, even if they have the same L1. The following theories provide an insight into how and why this language may vary. Some are backed up by empirical data, others are not, but all have their strengths and weaknesses and they all have supporters and critics. 3. The main theories in SLA

3.1. Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH)

In terms of the principles of CAH, Gass and Selinker (1994: 59) state that it is “a way of comparing languages in order to determine potential errors for the ultimate purpose of isolating what needs to be learned and what does not need to be learned in a second language learning situation”.Saville-Troike (2006: 34-35) explain that it focuses on the differences and similarities between the L1 and the Second Language (L2). This means that the similarities and differences between L1 and L2 play a crucial role in learners’ production. Saville-Troike (2006: 35) also points out that there will be a transfer of elements acquired in the L1 to the target L2. This transfer is considered positive if the same structure exists in both languages and the transfer results in the correct production of language in the L2.

However, it can also be negative if a language structure from the L1 does not exist in the L2 but the structure is transferred leading to the production of incorrect language. Arab students often omit the verb to be. For example, this book mine for this book is mine since both of them have the same meaning in Arabic /هذا الكتابُ لي /həðəlkɪtəbʊlɪ/. This kind of error might be made since the verb to be is rarely used in the present tense in Arabic. Because of this, Arab students may apply the Arabic rule to English. On the other hand, Arabic and English share the same idea regarding the position of object pronouns. The object pronouns are placed after the verb in English and Arabic.

In contrast, with French, they occur before the verb. Mitchell and Myles (1998: 30) say that the predictions of CAH, that all the errors made in learning the L2 are due to interface from L1, were shown to be unfounded. They claim that many studies and research explain convincingly that the majority of errors could not be attributed to the L1. In other words, CAH might not predict learning difficulties, and was only useful in the retrospective explanation of errors. This point considerably weakened its appeal. However, the heightened interest in this area did lead to the origin of Error Analysis. 3.2. Error Analysis (EA) and Interlanguage (IL)

3.2.1 Error Analysis (EA)

Mitchell and Myles (2004: 29-30) consider this approach to be influenced by behaviorism through the use of fundamental distinctions between the learners’ first and second languages to predict errors, adding that EA showed that CA was not able to predict most errors. They claim that the differences between L1 and L2 are not necessarily difficult, citing as an example the difference between English and French in terms of unstressed object pronouns. These cause a problem for English speakers learning French, but not for French speakers learning English. Saville-Troike (2006: 39-40) observes that EA distinguishes between systematic errors, which are due to a lack of L2 knowledge and mistakes, which are made when the knowledge has been processed. She highlights some of EAs shortcomings including: 1. Some people do not make errors because of L1 interface.

2. Focusing only on errors does not provide information regarding what the learner has acquired. 3. Learners may not produce errors because they avoid difficult structures. For example, Arab students avoid using models auxiliaries since they have difficulties in understanding their role in each sentence. They may use I want…, I need …., instead of could I have, I would like ……..? Overall, EA is not good at accounting for variability in SLA data. 3.2.2 Interlanguage (IL)

Saville-Troike (2006: 40-41) states that the term IL was introduced by Selinker in 1972, “to refer to the intermediate states (or interim grammars) of a learner’s language as it moves toward the target L2”. Ellis (1997: 19) hypothesises that the nature of variability changes during the process of L2 development in the stages below: 1. One form for multi-functions e.g., I live in Manchester, last year I live in London, next year I live in Amman. 2. Some forms have been acquired e.g. I live in Manchester, last year I lived in London, next year I lived in Amman. 3. The various forms start to be used systematically. Here the student may write the forms correctly but still use the incorrect forms when speaking. 4. The student uses the forms correctly and consistently.

3.3. The Monitor Model Theory

Mitchell and Myles (1998: 35) point out Krashen’s theory was based on five hypotheses which are: 1. Acquisition – Learning hypothesis Gass and Selinker (1994:144) refer to Krashen’s assertion that ‘acquisition’ and ‘learning’ are separate knowledge, and that language acquisition is a subconscious process. The acquirers of language are not consciously aware of the grammatical rules of the language, but they rather develop a kind of correctness. This is certainly the case for young children learning their L1. On the other hand, language learning refers to the conscious knowledge of L2. The learners know the rules, they are aware of them, and are able to talk about them. Gass and Selinker (1994: 148) criticise this hypothesis. They claim that it does not show evidence of the distinction between acquisition and learning as two separate systems. However, Krashen said that many can produce language fluently without having been taught any rules and there are many that know the rules but are unable to apply them whilst speaking (Lightbown and Spader 1999: 38).

1.Monitor Hypothesis

Krashen’s hypothesis states that what learners learn is available as a monitor (Saville-Troike (2006: 45). Learners will make changes and edit what they are going to produce. The language that learners have consciously learnt works as an editor in situations where they have sufficient time to edit, are focused on form and know the rule (Gass and Selinker 1994: 145-146). This conscious editor is called the Monitor. There are variations in use of the monitor that affect the language that learners produce. Acquired language skills can lead to improved fluency but overuse of the monitor can lead to a reduction in fluency (Krashen 1988: 30-31). Moreover, Krashen (1988: 30-31) believes that there is individual variation among language learners with regard to ‘monitor’ use.

He claims that the learners who use the ‘monitor’ all the time are ‘over-users’, often producing stilted language whereas, ‘under-users’ will often speak quickly but with a lot of errors. Learners who use the monitor appropriately are considered ‘optimal-users’. These find a good balance between speed and accuracy, continuing to refer to want they have learnt but acknowledging the importance of communication. He emphasise that lack of self-confidence is the major cause for the over-use of the ‘monitor’. Gass and Selinker (1994: 149) criticise this hypothesis as they believe that the monitor is only useful in production but it is useless in comprehension since it consists of learned knowledge that is used to edit utterances.

1.Natural Order Hypothesis

According to the natural order hypothesis the acquisition of grammatical structures (rules) proceeds in a predictable order (Gass and Selinker 1994: 145). They add that in a given language, some grammatical structures generally tend to be acquired early while others are acquired late regardless of the L1. They say “the natural order was determined by a synthesis of the results of the morphemes order studies and are a result of the acquired system, without interference from the learned system”. Krashen cited the example that many advanced students in English will still not be able to apply the rule for the third person singular verb, where an –s has to be added to the verb, when speaking quickly.

1.Input Hypothesis

According to the input hypothesis, SLA cannot take place without sufficient and necessary comprehensible input (Mitchell and Myles 2004: 165). Acquirers develop competency over time by receiving comprehensible input to move their present level to the next. Gass and Selinker (1994: 146) emphasise that this hypothesis is central to Krashen’s description of acquisition and is a complement to the Natural Order Hypothesis.

1.Affective Filter Hypothesis

Krashen’s hypothesis suggests that not everyone has the same ability in learning a second language and that self-confidence, motivation and anxiety all affect language acquisition (Gass and Selinker 1994: 148). He proposed that an Affective filter acts as a barrier to language input. Krashen (1988: 38) explains that a number of affective variables play a crucial role in SLA. These variables include motivation, self-confidence and anxiety. He claims that learners who are highly motivated, self-confident and less anxious are better equipped for success in SLA. Low motivation, low self-esteem, and anxiety contribute to raise the affective filter which prevents comprehensible input from being used for acquisition. In other words, if the filter is high, the input will not pass through and subsequently there will be no acquisition.

On the other hand, if the filter is low and the input is understood, the input will take place and acquisition will have taken place. Gass and Selinker (1994: 148) say that the filter and filter hypotheses explain the failure of SLA according to two parameters: insufficient input and high affective filter, or both. Gass and Selinker (1994: 150) criticize the Filter Hypothesis because it does not explain how it works? Or how the input filter works? However, others see that it as something that can be seen and applied in the classroom and that it can explain why some students learn and produce better language than others (Lightbown and Spader 1999: 40).

3.4. Universal Grammar (UG)

The definition of UG by Chomsky (1976, as cited by Cook, 2001: 181-182) is “the system of principles, conditions, and rules that are elements or properties of all human languages … the essence of human language”. According to Chomsky, there are principles, which allow or prevent a specific structure from occurring in all human languages, and parameters, which govern ways in which human languages differ, usually expressed as a limited choice between two options. These principles and parameters are built in the human mind. In other words, children have an innate faculty that instructs them while learning of language (Mitchell and Myles, 2004: 33).

Saville-Troike (2006: 48-49) gives an example of a principle that Chomsky posited which is that every phrase in every language has the same elements including a head. For example, a noun phrase has to have a noun, a verb phrase has to have a verb and prepositional phrase has to have a preposition. On the other hand, an example of parameter is the direction of the head. For example, Arabic is a head last language and English is a head first language. According to Mitchell and Myles (1998: 61-68), UG can account for variations in learner language as follows:

1. No access hypothesis

This hypothesis suggests that UG becomes less accessible with age and therefore its involvement will not be available to adult learners. Chomsky believes there is a critical period for language acquisition and UGs application. Adult L2 learners have to be prepared to apply more general problem-solving skills. Evidence by Johnson and Newport (1989, as cited by Mitchell and Myles, 1998: 65) showed that immigrant children mostly become native-like speakers of L2, but their parents very rarely do. I believe this supports Chomsky’s hypothesis.

2. Full access hypothesis

Mitchell and Myles (1998: 61) state that the processes of L1 and L2 acquisition are very similar. The differences noticed between them are due to the difference in cognitive maturity and in the learner’s needs. It is clear that L2 learners acquire principles and parameter settings of L2 which are not similar to L1 settings. Evidence given by Flynn (1996 as cited by Mitchell and Myles 1998: 66) explained that Japanese L1 learners of English as L2 successfully acquire L2 head parameter settings. They use principles in English which do not operate in Japanese.

3. Indirect access hypothesis

Mitchell and Myles, (1998: 61-62) point out that access to UG is only available to learners indirectly via the L1. They say “there will be just one instantiation (i.e. one working example) of UG which will be available to the L2 learner, with the parameters already fixed to the settings which apply in the L1”. Evidence given by Schachter (1996 as cited in Mitchell and Myles, 1998: 67) showed L2 learners’ failure to acquire principles absent in their L1 and/or failure to reset parameters.

4. Partial access hypothesis

Mitchell and Myles (1998: 62) say that some aspects of UG are still available and others are not. They give an example stating that principles may still be available but parameter settings may not. In addition, White (2003:1-2) represents the application of the idea of UG to the area of SLA. She argues that SLA is constrained by principles and parameters of UG which is well explained in his book “Second Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar”. In terms of criticism, Mitchell and Myles (1998: 70) say that UG as a whole has been exclusively concerned with syntax and the developmental linguistic route followed by learners when learning a L2. Thus, the social and psychological variables that affect the rate of the learning process are beyond its remit and therefore ignored.

3.5. Socio-linguistic theories

Mitchell and Myles (1998: 163) define sociolinguistics as the study of the effect of all aspects of soceity on the language in use. I will focus on the sociocultural theory discussed in Lantolf (1994). Lantolf (1994: 418) emphasises that the origin of sociocultural theory refers to Vygotsky’s ideas. In terms of variations in learner language, Vygotsky (1978 as cited in Mitchell and Myles, 1998: 146 ) defines the Zone of Proximal Development(ZPD) as ” the difference between the child’s developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the higher level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers’.

Saville-Troike (2006: 112) says that one way is to help learners within the ZPD is through scaffolding which is defined as verbal guidance which an expert helps a learner to solve a specific task or collaboration of peers to solve a task that is difficult for any one of them individually. This means that little collaboration or guidance are the main reason for variation in learner language. For example, talk between peers could be helpful as in the following example: Student 1: could I say I am loving you, daddy?

Student 2: I am loving ………..
Student 1: yes, I do not stop loving my daddy.
Student 2: love is a state verb
Student 1: yes, so I am love you, daddy.
Student 2: I think simple present form with state verbs?
Student 1: Ah, I love you, daddy.

4. Conclusion

To sum up, it is clear that not one individual theory on its own can account for all the variations in learners’ language. Each one has valid points and I have shown some of the variations in language these hypotheses may produce. However, in a lot of cases, there is a lack of empirical evidence and further investigation into these theories may identify new learning and teaching methods. Teaching methods have to take into account that L2 learners are varied. Learners do not have the same characteristics so they do not all acquire a L2 in the same way and at the same rate.

Motivation, aptitude, age, social background and self-confidence affect the learners’ abilities. At the current time, and with the knowledge that is available to us, I think it is important for teachers to consider the most important aspects of each theory when preparing their lessons. Clearly not all theories will be addressed in every lesson, but with careful thought and consideration, the ideas may be applied and the results will show whether or not they are effective for that particular group of students.

The Nature of Reading Skills Essay

Until recently the many and diverse reading skills and strategies for use in every day situations have been largely subordinate to a narrower range of skills required for dealing with simplified readers (especially at the elementary and intermediate levels). Furthermore, on a few language courses, efficient reading skills have been pushed into the background in an attempt to develop oral fluency skills. Attempts at dealing with the many complex reading skills frequently come too late, at the tertiary level ( i. e. at university, technical college), when pupils/students suddenly find themselves confronted with professional and technical literature in the foreign language. There exist few comprehensive systematic programs which have been constructed from a detailed analysis of the skills required for efficient reading. Much test material is still limited to short reading extracts on which general comprehension questions are based.

Reading comprehension test material is very closely related to the type of practice material used by the teacher to develop the reading skills.

Few language teachers would argue against the importance of reading: what is still urgently required in many classrooms tests is greater awareness of the actual processes involved in reading and the production of appropriate exercise and test materials to assist in the mastery of these processes. Before reading tests in the foreign language can be successfully constructed, the fist language reading skills of the pupils must be ascertained. Clearly there is often little purpose in testing in the foreign language those basic reading skills which the pupils have not yet developed in their own language.

However, the mere fact that a pupil has mastered some of the required reading skills in the first language is no guarantee at all that he or she will be able to transfer those skills to reading another language. Reading itself means reading and understanding. A foreign language learner who says that he or she can read the words but does not know what they mean, does not read in this sense. He or she is merely decoding – translating written symbols into corresponding sounds.

Reading is an exercise dominated by the eyes and the brain. Different aspects of nature of reading can be illustrated and clarified. Some assumptions about those are the following: 1. We need to perceive and decode letters in order to read words. 2. We need to understand all the words in order to understand the meaning of a text. 3. The more symbols (letters or words) there are in a text, the longer it will take to read it. 4. We gather meaning from what we read.

Plain language v legalese Essay

There is an ongoing debate over whether legal practitioners should use plain language in legal writing; or whether legal practitioners should carry on with tradition and write in a more lawyerly manner some call “legalese”. As with any debate, there are two opposing sides and a middle ground. Proponents of plain language believe that since legal documents are read by both legal professionals and laymen, they should be understandable to a wide audience.

Proponents of legalese believe that since legal documents are primarily written for an audience of other legal professionals, the traditional style of legal writing is perfectly understood by its intended audience.

There is a long history of traditional legal writing law that sounds very important and archaic to the modern ear. Words such as substantiate, elucidate, and notwithstanding are seldom found anywhere outside of a legal document.

There are also many phrases that are rarely used outside of a legal document, such as: “until such time as”; “render assistance”; “including but not limited to”; “owing to the fact that”; and “in the event that“.

The use of Latin phrases is common in traditional legal writing. The precise meaning of the phrases is obscure to readers who lack a knowledge of Latin. Latin phrases such as “habeas corpus”; “prima facie”; and “quantum meruit”; are likely widely understood only by legal professionals.

Other Latin phrases used in traditional legal writing, such as “ab initio”; “de facto”; and “ex post facto”; might be understood by a well educated audience as well as legal professionals. Boilerplate language is another convention of legal writing. So-called “boilerplate” language is a grouping of words, sentences, and sometimes lengthy paragraphs that may have meaning beyond their plain meaning. For example, clauses in a property deed for a house contain language that has been parsed, defined, and argued for decades. The precise meaning of each boilerplate clause is related to the definitions and arguments that accompany it.

Boilerplate language refers to any language that is always the same and is perceived as standard wording, such as “standard contract” clauses. The term boilerplate originated in the days of hot metal type. Publishers would use blocks of type that were made to be unchangeable, one sheet of metal printing plate with full paragraphs, clauses, or “standard” wording on it. These metal sheets resembled a plate on a boiler, and that is how the term came about. (Black’s 1991). Another convention of traditional legal writing is its repetitiveness.

Personal pronouns, such as he, she and they; are generally not used. Instead the person’s name is used each time. Or a person’s position in a cause of action, such as defendant, plaintiff, respondent, or petitioner; is used each time. Similarly, the word “it” is seldom used. Instead the word for the thing or the word for the idea is used each time. Descriptive phrases in traditional legal writing are also confined to the same descriptive phrase each time. For example, words used to describe a vehicle would always be the same words each time they appeared in the same legal document.

A red pickup truck would always be referred to as just that, “a red pickup truck”. The descriptive words would not be changed to “a Ford truck” even though the descriptive phrase could just as easily describe the same vehicle. “Plain language” is a phrase that defies definition. Like defining art or pornography, a prevalent attitude is that there is no encompassing definition, but we know it when we see it. Would it be fair to say that plain language is language that most people easily understand? That question begs for the next question, who is “most” people; and what is their level of understanding?

So, then when we speak of plain language in legal writing, does that mean at a reading level that all or most adults can comprehend? Does plain language in legal writing mean only college educated adults? According to the most recent National Adult Literacy Study: “The National Literacy Survey shows that the average adult in the U. S. reads at the 7th grade level, with nearly 50% below the 6th grade level and over 80% below the 10th grade level. ” (DuBay, 2004). So does that mean that plain language in legal writing should be written at a 7th grade reading level?

In 1969 Harry McLaughlin devised the SMOG readability formula and it is still commonly used today. To use McLaughlin’s formula “count the words of three or more syllables in three ten sentence samples, estimate the square root, and add three. ” The number generated is the readability score which corresponds to the reading grade level at which the paper could be read and understood. There is a deviation of plus or minus 1. 5. On his website, McLaughlin offers a readability calculator, just copy and paste any document into the box, and the calculator generates a readability score for that document.

I plugged in one page of this paper and a score of 17. 34 was given. Since my intended audience is my professor and my academic colleagues, I believe this is an appropriate level of writing. (McLaughlin, 2008). Plain language, most simply defined, has to be just that, readable for the widest possible audience. Plain language does not seem to rely on multi-syllabic words when a shorter word will do. Words such as substantiate, elucidate, and notwithstanding can be replaced with prove, despite and clarify, respectively. Some common phrases used in traditional legal writing have a concise plain language substitute. In the event that” translates easily to “if. “Until such time as” means “when”. Plain language in the context of legal writing means using a translation of the Latin word or phrase, rather than the more scholarly sounding Latin. Proponents of maintaining a traditional style of legal writing believe that continuing to use the traditional conventions, Latin phrases, and boilerplate language preserves legal culture. The use of Latin phrases adds a certain panache to writing, and some of the Latin does not translate very well. Few individuals outside of the legal profession will ever read a Supreme Court opinion.

The process of legal argument, legal reasoning and legal writing are so intertwined that it becomes impossible to express legal opinion except in traditional legalese. In fact, for attorneys the use of traditional legal writing is more efficient because it is most commonly used; therefore, most commonly understood; understood by attorneys that is. The conventions and tradition in legal writing are much more than meaningless archaic language. Legal documents are written for specific legal situations. Sometimes legal language is purposely broad and imprecise so that unknown and unforeseeable future circumstances may somehow be addressed.

Other wording is precise and well defined to clearly define the expectation of both parties, like the wording in a contract. A contract may have many clauses and if they can be simplified by using traditional standard language then all the better. It is after all, attorneys, communicating with attorneys. (Bast, 1995). Many attorneys choose to use published forms as the basis for contracts because they can easily be adapted to a specific client and situation. These attorneys believe that it is too time consuming for them and expensive for their clients to write a complete contract for each client and each situation.

For example, in a contract a saving clause, also called a severability clause, allows the contract to remain in effect even if one or more of the provisions of the contract is breached or is found to be unenforceable. (Bast, 1995). This clause may or may not be written in plain language, but the meaning is the same. Attorneys reading other attorneys’ contracts easily grasp the intent and meaning of contract clauses, whether the language is standard legalese or written for a mass audience as long as the wording is precise. If the legal language found in a contract is familiar and precise attorneys can save themselves time and effort.

And they can save their clients money, because they have no reason to analyze or parse out each word or clause, the meaning, to them is clear. Proponents of traditional legal writing style also assert that the repetitiveness in legal documents is necessary. While other types of writing demand variation of word choice to describe an object, person, or event, legal writing demands consistency in word choice. This consistency provides clarity and precision. There can be no question as to who “they” refers to in a legal document, when the word “they” does not ever appear at all.

Proponents of plain language in legal writing claim that much of so-called traditional legalese is nothing but gobbledygook. Legalese is jargon and is used to obscure meaning. Webster’s Dictionary defines jargon as “confused, unintelligible talk; the special speech or vocabulary of a class, as of technicians, artists, thieves. ” (Webster, 1987). In fact, the purpose of jargon among members of a group is to communicate among themselves without being understood by outsiders. Police and criminals each have their own jargon, hoping the other will not understand them.

The goal of jargon among legal professionals is so that the public will not understand the law. If the public cannot understand the law because the public cannot understand the legal terminology then the public has no choice but to seek legal advice to interpret every legal document. So, legalese is very important to attorneys as job security. The most compelling argument in favor of plain language in legal writing is that consumers often sign legal documents in the course of their everyday lives. Nearly every agreement that a consumer enters into is bound by a written contract.

If that contract is unintelligible, then the consumer’s rights are at risk. Consumers enter all types of contracts, including cell phone contracts, mortgages, and insurance. Laws and ordinances also have impact on people’s lives. It is popular to say that ignorance of the law is no excuse. However, laws are passed at a dizzying rate, and in truth most of us, including attorneys, are ignorant of many laws that might affect us. If we can comprehend the meaning of a law, we have a much better chance of following the law. And if we can understand a proposed law on the ballot we have a better chance of voting appropriately.

Many states have gone so far as to legislate plain language in legal writing. In Florida, property insurance policies must be written in plain language. In California, they have legislated the use of plain language this way: Section 6215 of the California Government Code states: “Each department, commission, office or other administrative agency of state government shall write each document which it produces in plain, straightforward language, avoiding technical terms as much as possible, and using a coherent and easily readable style. ”

When it comes to personal safety, plain language is even more important. After a series of studies found that the improper use of child-safety seats was the leading risk factor in fatal injury to children in car accidents, two public health officials began to investigate. Dr. Mark Wegner and Deborah Girasek suspected that there might be a relationship between the improper use of the child-safety seats and the installation instructions. The pair analyzed the readability of the instructions of 107 different child-safety seats and published their findings in the medical journal “Pediatrics”.

The team found that the installation instructions that came along with most of the child-safety seats were written at the 10th grade level. Far higher than the national average reading level of 7th grade, and much higher than the 5th to 6th grade level recommended for health related writing for consumers. This type of safety instruction is not legal writing per se. However, product liability is strict liability. And, if the safety instructions on a product are unintelligible they might as well be non-existent.

Manufacturers risk substantial loss in tort actions if their product’s safety notifications are useless. In a letter to Senator Bob Bennett dated September 17, 2008, Ruth Anne Robbins, president of the Legal Writing Institute wrote: “Bureaucratic legal writing, including government writing, has long been difficult to read. It is convoluted and dense. Even those of us who are legal writing professors are challenged by it – and it is challenging for us to teach our law students how to properly read and interpret it.

The government would benefit from paying more concern to the efficacy and readability of its communications. We teach our students to be reader-friendly rather than writer-centered. Unfortunately, government documents are too often writer-oriented rather than reader-oriented. ” (Robbins, 2008). Since I believe that the purpose of writing is communication, not obfuscation, I support plain language in legal writing. The world today is a complicated place, and there is no reason to make it even more difficult to navigate than it needs to be.

Whenever possible precision should be chosen over vagueness. When crafting wording for legislation, lawmakers should be careful to choose words that as clearly as possible show the intent of each law. Judges at all levels should strive to write their court opinions clearly and concisely. Laws and court opinions will always be subjected to interpretation, and that is one of the things that makes our country great. But, the interpretation of laws should be directed towards applying laws and opinions to a changing world, rather than trying to understand the original intent of those laws and opinions.

There is no mention of the right to privacy anywhere in the U. S. Constitution. Justice William O. Douglas, in his landmark Supreme Court opinion , Griswold v Connecticut, (1965) wrote that our right to privacy is a constitutional right, and that right is included in the penumbra of rights emanating from the specific guarantees of the constitution. This type of expansion of personal freedoms is, in my opinion, the best and highest use of legal reasoning. The cumbersome challenge of interpreting obscure and arcane legalese is intellectual quicksand, and to be avoided at every opportunity.

Reading Body Language in Poker Essay

Body language is a part of nonverbal language. It includes things like stance, gestures, facial expressions, and even small things that are barely perceptible like a brief shrug of the shoulder or nod of the head. We frequently communicate both bodily and verbally and an estimated 70% of what we communicate may be nonverbal. There have been hundreds of books on body language but not many in poker. So this is a small attempt to put information that I have learnt while learning to read people at a poker table.

I started by straight away applying the basic body language reads to a poker table like when a person leans in; it is sign of confidence, hence it translated that the player most likely has good cards.

Another classic example is when a person rubs his hands after seeing his cards; this is sign that he is so excited to see the card that he can’t wait to play their cards.

In short, a poker table is much like real world scenarios like class room, office, college, etc. When a player at a poker table gives away body language information, it is called a tell. So reading a player for tells is crucial for poker player’s game. Below is the order in which I read people at a poker table:

1. Feet and Legs (Most reliable)
2. Arms and Hands
3. Mouth
4. Eyes
5. Pacifying Behaviours (Least Reliable)

Nice Legs!

This is the most honest part of the body and can give loads of information. Most people while reading a person start from the top and scan towards the bottom. But believe me the other way round works much better and is far more reliable. Most people go to great lengths to hide what is on their faces but rarely do they focus on their legs. Legs carry so much information that it is relied upon by most pros and ignored by most amateurs in poker. Below are some of the common tells that you can spot at a poker table: * If a person has pointed his feet forward and after he receives his cards turns it away, it is clear sign of disengagement and he no longer wants to be involved in the hand. * If a person is constantly wiggling and bouncing his legs and then suddenly stops and pays attention, this is a sign that the person is about to bluff.

* If a person’s feet go from flat to raised position – resting feet flat to raised heels/toes forward means that the person is ready to act. * When a person interlocks his feet, this is sign of nervousness. This means that the person is holding weak or marginal cards. * A variation of the above is after a person bets (a big bet) he wraps his legs around the legs of the chairs or table, it may suggest that he is bluffing. They are restraining themselves because they think other will detect his bluff. * When a player moves his feet positioned in front of his chair to under the chair indicates signs of weakness or bluffing.

Let’s Get Our Hands Dirty

Hands are an intimate part of poker. They are constantly moving and interacting with the chips and cards on the table, and sometimes even with players. Hands can reveal a lot of information. * Interlacing fingers behind the head is a very strong sign that the player is confident. So if you deciding to bluff don’t try it on this player. * When a player does a hand steeple, this is also another high confidence tell. * Interlacing of fingers and hand wringing is a sign of low confidence. * When a person looks at his cards and his hands tremble or reaching for chips and his hands are trembling, is a sign that he has great cards or as in poker we call it monsters. His hands got scared of the monster!

Lips Don’t Lie

Mouth are a great reading tool for tells in poker but as you come from the feet to the face, the tells get that much less reliable because players will be a lot more conscious of their tells when it comes to their face. The tells listed below are some of the classic tells in poker however one should tread cautiously when one is applying in a real game. * When a person smiles pulling his lips and there is no movement around his eyes is a classic tell of dishonesty (fake smile). Remember it is very difficult to pull off a full smile when you are unhappy so when you see a full smile with the corners of the eyes involved you can be sure he is honest about his representations on the table. * When a person presses his lips together is an indicator of high stress and low confidence.

* Nail biting is another sign of low confidence. * Lip biting is a good indicator of stress and concern. * A subtle tell of lips are lip withdrawal; they indicate that stress is settling in slowly. * Lip licking and biting of objects like pen or chips are signs of pacifying when there is concern. * Tongue jetting out is another tell which indicates that the player got away with something.

Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul

Eyes are very good barometer of our feelings because we have very little control over them. I rely on eyes as an indicator often in my game. Here are some fool proof tells that I have used before: * When a player blocks his eyes either by closing his lids or blocking it with his fingers or palm or object, it is a sign that he does not want to see what’s coming. * This tell might take some used to getting used to but watching the eyes for dilation or constriction is 100% method to get the information out of your opponent. Remember when we like something our eyes dilate and when we don’t like something it constricts. So if a player is dissatisfied with his cards, his pupils will constrict.

* Squinting of eyes indicate high concern.
* Lowering of eyebrows is a sign of low confidence.
* Arching of eyebrows is a good indication of positive feelings.

Pacifying Behaviours

These are the least reliable because most of the pacifying behaviours are just indicators of soothing oneself or discomfort at the maximum. Pacifying behaviours are done by players who are bluffing or players who are not. Hence, it must not be used in isolation and using them with other tells is the right way to go. * Touching the neck in the front and the back, exhaling through puffed cheeks and touching the face, forehead rubbing and earlobe pulling, air ventilating to the neck are good signs distress and pacifying.

* Women will check the dimple on the neck when they are highly stressed or are fearful. Playing with a necklace or any neck jewelry is indicative of the same. Men will adjust their tie knots.

Common Mistakes while Reading People
1. Not establishing baselines

This is the most common mistake people do while reading people. Baselines are crucial in the field of body language. A person who usually bites his nails or bites his lips on a poker table will probably do the same, hence, must not be mistaken for weak hand or stress setting or low confidence. Hence, before reading any person a baseline must be established.

2. Reading tells in isolation

Another mistake people do reading tells in isolation. You cannot expect a tell to occur in a person nor can you read a tell in isolation like biting lips. It should be congruent with what’s happening on the table and in reaction to what others are doing. In other words, you must ask yourself what was the motivation behind him giving away a particular tell.

3. Reading is not an exact science

One of the essential skills in poker is reading your opponent but there are other aspects to the game like game theory, probability which has to be taken to account. Reading should always be used as one of your tools in making your decisions at a poker table.

1. Body Language: How to Read Others Thoughts by Their Gestures. Allan
Pease. 1988. Sheldon Press 2.
3. Body Language. Julius Fast (1971). Pocket Books.
4. Unmasking the Face: A Guide to recognizing emotions from Facial Expressions. Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Freisen (2003). 5. Secret of No Limit Holdem: An ultimate guide to all-in texas hold’em poker. Howard Lederer. 6. Read’em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent’s Guide to Decoding Poker Tells. Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins.

Explain the problems of religious language Essay

Explain the problems of religious language. (30) Some words used within religious language may be viewed as contradictory to our inherent beliefs and logical view as human beings one example of this would be the story of the ‘virgin Mary’ as there is no logical explanation to how she gave birth. Many of the words used in religious language are also metaphysical and have no physical representation therefore it is very hard for us as humans to fully comprehend the ideas they are expressing.

An example of this is ‘God is timeless’ as we as humans live in a world where time is very much present so humans’ attempting to understand the phrase causes problems as it is outside of our past experiences. Many of the metaphysical questions within religious language can be problematic as it can not be answered through science or our logic for example ‘why were we created? ’ or ‘how did we get here? ’. Some scholars argue that our human language is not enough to describe religion thus we are doing God an injustice by attempting to explain it in human language, and that we should not expect that applying worldly language to religion to be adequate for our understanding of it.

Similarly some argue that we should not even attempt to understand language hence why synagogues have no pictures of God. It may be argued that by giving God human-esk characteristics we are athromorphising god. Another key factor to religious language causing problems is that it is very difficult to interpret whether something should be taken literally or non-literally one example of this is God turning water into wine some interpreters may view it in its literal form whilst others may state that he turned a simple resource into something much more complex.

Even if somebodies interpretation is completely correct there is still no real way of proving this. Something else which also causes confusion within religious language is the same words having different contexts for example ‘spirit’ one context is alcohol the other is God (the holy SPIRIT) these are to very different things and would cause great confusion if interpreted incorrectly.

Another inherent problem of religious language is the argument that Russell put forward when he stated we should not believe a statement which has no evidence to back itself up with and religious texts offer very little of this evidence. Ayer also stated that ‘if it is not analytical and cannot be tested, then best to call it cognitively meaningfulness’ this ideology would be problematic for religious believers as religion cannot be tested.

Language Acquisition Essay

Refer the theories of language acquisition (Behaviorist theories, nativist theories and interactionist theories) and write an evaluation of them.Consider the stages of language acquisition in the evaluation of these theories.

Human language development is a huge debate between Nature Vs Nurture within theorists of various fields in psychology.There are three major schools of thought that will be mainly focused on; behaviourist, nativist (rationalist) and interactionist(cognitive and social). The cognitive approach and social context of language development is known as interactionist approach as the language depends upon the child having interaction with its physical and social world.

The Behaviorist approach to language acquisition:

The behaviorist theory was developed in the early twentieth century. The theory was developed as a protest against introspection. This theory suggests that everything that is capable of learning without a much of effort is not innate, but learned through conditioning – which is frequent association of stimuli in the mind.

Language acquisition theory of B.F. Skinner.

Skinner’s theory of language (1957) explained language acquisition is related to operant conditioning. He stated that behavior is learned through reinforcement. Rewarding children when they speak the correct way could help the child to gradually learn an approximate correct desired speech, this is called shaping. In 1957, skinner published his book, Verbal behavior, in which he attempted to apply his form of operant conditioning to language learning. Skinner also stated that for instance when the child sees a “car” he / she interprets and utters the word “car” to the carer.

The carer reinforces the child, excepting that it is a car. This is referred to as Tact. This means understanding the relationship between the word and the object. Skinner also referred to echoic responses. This occurs when children imitate sounds heard from others and get immediate approval. He believes that accents and dialects were unconsciously modeled.

“A sentence is merely a part of a behavior chain, each element of which provides a conditional stimulus for the production of the succeeding element” (Fodor,Bever & Garret,p25) Skinner argued that adults are responsible in shaping, by reinforcing babbling of infants that mostly sound as words (Skinner, 1957, as cited in sheffer et al 2002) Behaviorist theory emphasize that language acquisition could be explained by the principles of learning such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning.

Also Bandura stated that using the processes of observation and imitation behavior, language learning could be acquired. Accounts of language development which emphasize that language acquisition can be explained using the principles of learning such as classical conditioning, operant and observational learning.Bandura argued that language learning takes place by the process of observation and imitation.


Simple cases were used to explain this theory. Our natural verbal behavior is not only in the form of mands or tacts,instead , it is the form of inter-verbal responses.(Skinner. p.676) Skinner did not show much interest to children’s creativity and novel mouses, he goed, he seed… Skinners conditioning model mostly depends on the role of parents for the child’s speech. Conditioning approach doesn’t explain a complex process of language acquisition. Evidence shows when it was tape recorded mothers talking to their children, shows only little shaping to their children’s grammar. (Brown et al,1969)

Reinforcement theory predicts that children would grow up and speak the truth, yet will be using incorrect grammatical errors. (M Eyesenck,1993) It’s not simply possible for parents to reinforce or punish all the possible utterances a child will use. Studies of parent-child interaction show that parents reward grammatically incorrect utterances that are truthful. The language that children hear contains too few examples for them to learn the correct rules. In behaviorist theory it is believed that infants do learn the language through imitation, rewards and practice through other role models. (Cooter & Reutzel, 2004)

Nativist theory/ Rationalist Approach:

Rationalism is the opposing view of behaviorism. Just like birds do fly and fishes swim, the capability to learn and use language is also genetically innate. Chomsky is one of the leading rationalist linguist. Noam Chomsky’s theory of language acquisition. (1957; 1965) He suggests that language acquisition is an innate faculty. Chomsky’s approach incorporates that children use an inherited hypothetical blueprint known as Language acquisition Device (LAD) (1968). Chomsky believes that people are born with a set of rules about language, which is called “Universal Grammar”. When a child begins to listen to his parents speaking, H/ she will unconsciously recognize which kind of language the child is dealing with, and setting the grammar to the correct language is known as “Setting the Parameters” Chomsky’s theory attempts to explain the competence acquired in language.

Evidence shows the existence of LAD, which comes from the speed of language learned. Without LAD it will not be as easy to acquire a language, although it depends on the environment enormously in which the child was bought up. Lenneberg (1967) supports Chomsky that, there is a critical period for language learning, also suggesting that language is difficult to achieve after a certain period of time. Just as the case study of Genie (Curtiss, 1977). Chomsky’s theory was also admired by McNeill (1966). He observed the grammatical relationships in the telegraphic speech in children. Sometimes the rules were over generalized.


Although the theory was supported by research findings, it was criticized that language doesn’t mean only grammatical rules. Some psychologists have argued that children’s speech development arises not so much from innate LAD, but from the child’s prelinguistic knowledge. Chomsky relies on people’s intuition.

Grammar is acquired often from social circumstances. Chomsky reduces language to grammar. He disregards the situation in which a child requires first language. Language cannot be bdeveloped as quickly as nativist theorists believe. The LAD contains of knowledge of grammatical rules common to all languages (Shaffer et al,2002)

Interactionist Approach:

Cognitive Theory of Language;

Interactionist theory is concerned with the interference between environmental and biological factors, in the process of acquiring language. One of the most influential theorist of this approach is Jean Piaget.He believed the development of language depends on the cognitive process during childhood. Language is a part of the maturational development. This theory assumes that “Language acquisition is influenced by the interaction of a number of factors – Physical, Linguistic, Cognitive and Social” (Cooter & Reutzel, 2004).

Piaget’s Theory of Language Acquisition.

According to piaget, the first two years of a child goes through sensory motor stage. Children at this stage develop object permanence. Piaget explains language simply by means of representing the environment. As intellectual abilities involve the development of schemas, similar principles were applied for language too. Piaget proposed two stages of language acquisition, which are Egocentric speech and Social speech. Egocentric speech is used extensively in the preconceptual stage of age between 2-4 years. Children of this age are unable to explain in the perspective of another (Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). Social speech becomes dominant between the ages of 5-7 years.


Piaget underestimated children’s linguistic abilities. Piaget saw language as having a superior status to intellectual development. It is observed that use of linguistic skills can extend children’s intellectual abilities.

Social Interactionist Approach:

This approach explains the child’s social communication experience. Even during babyhood there is a communication that develops between the carer and the child. Cross culturally, similar patterns are used by mothers to communicate with their infants in order to indicate approval, disapproval, encouragement, discouragement (Ferhald, 1985). Vygotsky’s work is placed in this theory because he showed the importance of social interaction and learning language. Parents provide their children a language acquisition support system (LASS) in order facilitate their children’s acquisition of language. (Bruner, 1983). According to social interactionists, baby talk helps in the influence of language learning (Ferhald & Kuhl, 1987).


De Villiers & De Villiers (2000) believes that parents rarely offer direct feedback on their children’s grammar. Linguistic and social practices differ from different cultures.