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Theory of First Language Acquisition


 Image     There are many researcher in the world was doing research to explain how humans acquire an language. In this matter, there are several theories to appearance how humans acquire first language. According to Brown (1993: 22-28), there are three theories of first language acquisition, such as Behavioristic, Nativist, and Functional. Pateda (1998: 43-49) also indicate that there are three theories in first language acquisition, such as Behavioristic, Mentalist, and Cognitive. In this paper, there are five theories that observe in the first language acquisition, such as Behaviorism theory, Mentalist theory, Cognitive theory, Functional theory, and Interactionism theory.

  • Behaviorism Theory

      Behaviorism theory was introduced by John B. Watson on 1930 and be famous among years of 1940- 1950. According to this theory, children were born as tabula rasa. Tabula rasa mean children were born in pure condition and his parent is determining his attitude and behavior. According to H.R. Bukhari, every child was born in nature condition and their parent is determining his children to Jewish, Christian, or Majusi religion. Base on this Hadist, parent had important determine to develop their children attitude and behavior.  Besides that, there are responses in language acquisition from outside of environment. In acquire language, children can using some of methods, such as imitate.

     There are three main points in Behaviorism, theory approach, such as respond, stimulus, and reinforcement. Behaviorism was dividing into two main specific theories that are Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning. Operant Conditioning was pioneered by B.F. Skinner and Classical Conditioning was pioneered by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov on (1894-1936). Operant Conditioning is a condition to make human respond or operant (sentence or statement) spontaneously.  B.F. Skinner was done his investigation to animals, such as mouse and dove. The characteristic of Operant Conditioning is if respond emitted, it will make stimulus.  In other hand, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov does his research to train a dog. He had given piece of meat to the dog. Every show piece of meat to dog, the dog salivates. In subsequent experiment, Pavlov ran the bell again and the dog salivates. In this matter, the stimulus if lured will make a respond.

  • Mentalist theory

        Mentalist or also called Nativist theory was pioneer by Noam Chomsky in the beginning of 1960. This theory is argues that when children were born, they are bring language skill in their life, namely Language Acquisition Device or LAD. Noam Chomsky disagrees with Behaviorism theory that children attitude and behavior were determined by environment. Noam Chomsky argues that human have a capacity to acquire language, so human can acquire a language everywhere.

  • Cognitive Theory

  Cognitive theory or also called Rationalist was pioneer by Jean Piaget. This theory argues that when children were born, they are having thinking ability. Thinking ability can develop and improve if children do interaction with other people.

  • Functional Theory

       Functionalisms argue that human is needed a social integration in acquire language.

  • Interactionism Theory

     Interactionism theory was pioneer by Bloom (1970), Bowennan (1973), Gromer (1976) on 1960-an. This theory is argued that language acquisition is the result of interaction between learning mental ability and language environment. They are related with interaction between input and internal ability which learner has.

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