LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT1
In contemporary English a theory is a conception which formerly develops on or after conventional Greek idea, for instance that of Plato. The phrase theory is originally derived from Greek word theoria, meaning "a glancing at, viewing, beholding". However, in philosophy the expression theory refers to deliberation or conjecture. As a complex cognitive skill, the development of encompasses many theories. In this paper, the language development theories we are going to look at are three-fold: the nativist explanation, interactionist explanation and finally the behaviorist explanations.
The Theory of Nativist Explanation:
This theory was postulated by Chomsky. Nativist explanation states that language acquisition is an inborn, biological capacity (Schacter et al, 2009) . Chomsky steers clearly away from B.F.Skinner's behaviorist explanations and declares that human mind is outfitted with a language acquisition device (LAD). According to Chomsky, LAD is a set of mental procedures which smooth the progress of learning language (Schacter et al, 2009). Schacter et al (2009) these mental procedures in nature surface as the child grown-up, as long as the baby gets plenty input to sustain the process of acquisition. In this chapter, Christopher's case is a perfect example and is in line with Chomsky's postulate. Christopher learns several languages at an unimaginable pace, yet he fails miserably to make certain crucial decision on other matters that his peers accurately decide. In this theory, language development is innate and a child will develop on its own depending on its interests, desires and internal abilities. Such a child the Nativist Explanation will suggest that would source for the language information alone since the drive to know is influenced from within and they convey their message with astute observance to the language syntactical rules. However, this theory is considered vague as it fails to explain how language is acquired and developed.
The Theory of Interactionist Explanations:
According to the theory of Interactionist Explanations, inborn biological capabilities for language development must interact with the environmental experiences for language to be acquired by children speedily (Schacter et al, 2009). It is no doubt that children acquire language from the elderly who are part of their environment. It is indeed in that regard that parents and elderly or mature people should accustom their oral exchanges with children in manners that abridge the language acquisition process. For example, Schacter et al, (2009) proposes that parents and the mature interacting with the child should speak unhurriedly, articulate clearly, and by extension use plainer sentences than they would use when talking with their fellow adults for children to learn language fast. The above observation duly supports the interactionist viewpoint that even though children have innate aptitude to acquire and develop language, social interactions play a vital role in their language development (Schacter et al, 2009). It important to note that interactionist theory admits that infants have innate propensity to acquire and develop language as suggested by nativist explanation.
The behaviorist explanation:
The behaviorist explanation was postulated by B.F.Skinner and it declares that children acquire and develop language via simple doctrines of operant conditioning. According to this theory, the child has to act or operate on the environment for it to learn. For instance as they grow, infants whose vocalization are not rewarded gradually are suppressed whereas those that are rewarded are often used by the child (Schacter et al, 2009). Schacter et al mentions the reinforcements as smiles, whoops as well as cackles of “Goooood baaaaaby!” from parents when a child gurgles certain sound. Schacter et al, (2009) adds that for those mature children, they imitate and often repeat speech patterns that they hear. This enable them develop and acquire language. Chuckles and chortle from parents do acts as suppressers and children will avoid repeating what they say when they gurgle and hear such reaction from parents. This aid them organize and think even before they gurgle as they learn that not everything they bubble is pleasant.
Language and Thought: How Are They Related?
Language by definition is a system for conversing with others via gestures that transmit gist and are at the same time joined according to grammatical rules. Language permits folks to exchange information, organize group action as well as form firm social bonds (Schacter et al, 2009). On the other hand, thought can be referred to as the structured beliefs, opinions or ideas of a group, individual or time. These ideas and opinions are only noticeable and perceivable when expressed. The chief means of expressing ideas is language. However, linguistic relativity hypothesis according to Schacter et al (2009) argues that language do not express ideas, but rather shapes the nature of these ideas and opinions. They confidently say that language may influence thought. Language and thought go hand-in-hand since both are outcome of brain processes, which occurs in different segments of the brain; the Broca's section of brain is critical for language production whereas the Wernicke's section is critical for understanding (Schacter et al, 2009). To think and organize concepts, there is large use of language. For example, the study findings of the English children and Himba children of Namibia regarding colour identification duly indicate that thinking is lighter when using first language than foreign since we notice that Himba children did error to a limited extent to match tiles with color names in Himba and vise versa (Schacter et al, 2009). These exhibited abilities of the children all relies on their perception or thought. Since concepts are mind bound, category-specific deficit offer the manner in which the brain arranges our concepts about the world and further classifying them into groups footed on their shared similarities. For instance, Schacter et al (2009) hints that two doctors had their patient unable to distinguish an assortment of human-made items or even retrieve information on them, but the patient's comprehension of living things as well as foods was perfectly normal.
Schacter, D., Gilbert, D., & Wegner, D., (2009). Psychology. New York. Worth Publishers.