Compare and contrast nativist and learning theories of language development. 

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The nativist theory of language acquisition proposes that humans have something in our DNA coding that allows us to understand language. One part of the theory states that the language acquisition device (which is thought to be located in a particular region of the brain) is responsible for our abilities...

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The nativist theory of language acquisition proposes that humans have something in our DNA coding that allows us to understand language. One part of the theory states that the language acquisition device (which is thought to be located in a particular region of the brain) is responsible for our abilities in learning language. Research into brain injuries has revealed that damage in a specific area of the brain affects both the ability to understand language and/or the ability to produce language, depending on the patient. Thus, it seems that communication efforts seem to rely on some functioning area of the brain.

The nativist theory also claims that the core blueprint of all languages is universally the same. When looking at languages across the world, the vast majority are formed in the same basic ways. Almost all use nouns and verbs as foundational ways to communicate information. Although rules of grammar differ from language to language, the basic ways humans link information together are relatively similar. So nativist theorists believe that this structure for languages is wired into our brains and DNA.

The learning theory of language proposes that children learn language only because it is specifically modeled and taught—just like counting, eating with a fork, or climbing stairs safely. Instead of being "hard-wired" for language, as the nativists believe, learning theorists believe that children must be intentionally instructed in each new word, irregular verb, placement of adjectives, tone inflections, and so on. Children learn from praise, correction, and affection and repeat the language efforts that earn positive reinforcements. They also learn to modify language attempts that do not receive such a positive reinforcement.

While the nativist theory allows for the possibility of children acquiring new words simply because they are programmed to do so, the learning theory does not explain how children use words or phrases which they have not been directly taught.

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Nativist and learning theories of language acquisition are the two main ideas behind how people learn a language, and they essentially fall along the same divide as the psychological idea of "nature vs. nurture." In the nativist theory, a language—the mother tongue—is inborn. There are studies that show that infants and young children respond better to the language of their parents, even if spoken by someone unknown to them or in a different accent. This shows that there may be a preference to the parental language.

Learning theory states that language is acquired by observing and imitating the language of those around an individual. Naturally, a person will learn words and develop vocabulary through this method, but the theory postulates that there is no prior preference for a language and that any individual immersed in a different language will eventually acquire it through learning theory.

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The nativist theory of language development is based on biological factors. This perspective states that humans are "wired" with the innate ability to develop language. Noam Chomsky, a strong believer of the nativist theory, developed the idea of the Language-Acquisition Device (LAD) to further defend the nativist theory. This LAD is supposedly an organ already in our brains at birth, and it allows humans learn and understand language. 

The learning perspective of language is a theory stating that humans learn language through seeing and hearing, as well as through reward and punishment. According to B.F. Skinner, an "advocate" for this perspective, children develop language when their babbling is reinforced by the adults around them. 

Both perspectives believe that a part of learning language is what we hear and observe. The LAD allows children to grasp the basic rules of what they see and hear; and this idea of "learning by observation" is the central concept of the learning theory. 

However, the two theories still differ greatly. The nativist perspective is heavily reliant on biology and our innate abilities, while the learning theory is based on our surroundings and does not even consider biology. 

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