ERIC Number: ED043020
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Jun-30
Reference Count: 0
Psychology and Language.
The greater part of this paper is dedicated to a non-technical discussion and criticism of the principles of Skinnerian behaviorism. Various aspects of the theory are examined, and its inability to deal with verbal behavior as a productive and creative activity is asserted. The author's point of view is that expressed by Noam Chomsky in his criticism of Skinner's "Verbal Behavior." Evidence is produced to demonstrate that, contrary to the assertions of behaviorists, innate skills are involved in first language learning. The author stresses that although it can therefore be supposed that every child learns his first language in the same way, independently of IQ or culture or training, there is no evidence that second language learning is one particular kind of task approached in the same manner by all learners. For this reason the author believes that there is no basis for believing that there is the possibility of finding a theory that can provide a universally valid technique for language teaching; he stresses instead the pragmatic aspects of language instruction. Finally, in considering how linguistics and psychology can help the language teacher, the author concludes that "Linguistics and psychology have nothing to say about the methods used in foreign language teaching." (FWB)
Descriptors: Animal Behavior, Behavior Theories, Child Language, Conditioning, Linguistic Theory, Psycholinguistics, Psychological Studies, Responses, Second Language Learning, Stimuli, Stimulus Generalization, Transformational Generative Grammar, Verbal Stimuli
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Peace Corps, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: International Society for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, New York, NY.
Note: From the "Final Report on Peace Corps Language Coordinators Workshop," Rockport, Massachusetts, April 26 to May 16, 1970