There had been no definite sequence on how a child could acquire language until the birth of child psychology that formulated many theories which led to some information on how a child develops his language.
One of the principles in the natural history of language development is the principle of reinforcement. In this principle the consequences of an action will influence future behavior. For instance, if the parent constantly reminds the child of the correct sentence construction, then the child would have a greater possibility of acquiring a logical language as he grows. However, if the child is constantly taught of a baby-talk, he could have the chance of acquiring poor language.
The second principle is through imitation. This is the child’s production of words or sentences after being heard from his parents or peers.
Meanwhile, Noam Chomsky is known for his nativist theory of language acquisition. He proposed that every child is born with a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which is a special language-learning mechanism embodying knowledge about the general nature of grammars. In other words, language learning is already innate to a child.
However, with the social interactionist view, language acquisition is believed to be both biological and social. Moreover, it states that language learning is influenced by a child’s desire to communicate with others.
On the other hand, Jerome Bruner theorized the Language Acquisition Support System (LASS) which emphasizes the critical roles in which the parents and other caregivers have in the language acquisition process. He believed that a child learns language by the support of the people around him.
As a language teacher, the theories on language acquisition could help me compare and contrast the factors that led a child to develop his language. Learning these theories, I realize the importance of the biological and social dimension of the child. These dimensions are the agents that help a child logically and rationally produce language.