Michael Halliday's Theory Of Language Development

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Language development is and important part of a child maturation, it allows them to communicate with others around them as well as understand what others are trying to communicate to them. There are many theories surrounding language development, but the main two opposing points come from Michael Halliday and Norm Chompsky. The two theories have vastly different views on how a child develops language (Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics Theory and Chomsky’s Innate Language Theory). Using the transcript Halliday’s theory relates to explaining the development of Saskia’s language through her use of protolanguage and macro-functions with the help of Clare Painter and her research into Functional development. This paired with the strategies…show more content…
Halliday’s theory stems from the idea that language is learnt from the social interaction witnessed or participated in by the child. In other words, “meaning before grammar” According to Torr (2015, pp. 248), “Halliday’s model of language development provides an explanation of the relationship between communicative behaviours… and the subsequent adoption of words … of the adult system which replaces them.” Torr’s observation explains that Halliday’s theory plausibly explain how a child learns language. Engaging ing social interaction with individuals round them, a child slowly develops the components of communication such as; Taking turns, Eye Contact as well as Active Response though sounds and actions, which, allows them to master those skills and then move onto developing adult language. Wells (2015) furthers this point by expressing how important infant’s inherent sociability to language development. He also describes how infants have a want to communicate and that even gestures can be seen in a child as young as 3 months. Halliday’s theory is seen as the most plausible in regards to language development according to Torr, Wells and other academics due to the behaviour that children display in social…show more content…
Chomsky describes his theory as language unfolding through natural cognitive ability (Torr, 2015). Instead of the idea of learning language from social interactions and other people, language is something already in the mind that is unlocked (Grammar before meaning, nativist’s perspective). This innate ability is called “Language Acquisition Device (LAD)” (Chomsky 1987, Cited in Harris, 2009, pp.12) and is something children are born with. This device is unrelated and unchanged by the environment and social circumstances of the child, (Torr, 2015). The theory is viewed as unpopular due to a question researchers had in its early stages, (“How could infants possibly learn the underlying syntactic rules of the language on the basis of their exposure to such poor linguistic input?” (Torr 2015, pp. 244)). The question was later answered by the idea of LAD. Finally, Halliday characterised the theory, expressing “…learning of structure is really the heart of the language learning process… not too far-fetched to recognize in the use of the term acquisition… therefore language itself, is a commodity of some kind that the child has to gain possession of in the course of maturation ' (Halliday, 1975. Cited in Torr 2015, pp. 244 ) basically stating that language development maybe a combination of both theories. Although the unpopular of the two theories, Chomsky had a grand influence
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