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Jerome Bruner on Language Acquisition - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton i 74
Language acquisition/Bruner/Upton: Bruner’s theory provides a good example of an interactional framework for thinking about language development. He maintains that, while there may be an [language acquisition device] LAD as suggested by Chomsky (>Language acquisition/Chomsky), there must also be a language acquisition support system (LASS) (Bruner, 1983)(1). In this support system he is referring to the features of early relationships (…).
Upton I 75
BrunerVsChomsky: Bruner cites the example of a well-known childhood game, Peek-a-boo, in which the mother, or other carer, disappears and then reappears. Through this ritual, which at first may be accompanied by simple noises, or ‘Bye-bye . . . Hello’, and later by lengthier commentaries, the child is both learning about separation and return, and being offered a context within which language, charged with emotive content, may be acquired. It is this reciprocal and affective nature of language that Bruner suggests Chomsky neglects to consider.
Upton: For the importance of shared activity see e.g. Liebal et al. 2009(2). >Language acquisition/Dynamic systems theory.



1. Bruner, J.S. (1983) Child’s Talk: Learning to use language. New York: Norton.
2. Liebal, K., Behne, T., Carpenter, M and Tomasello, M. (2009) Infants use shared experience to interpret pointing gestures.Developmental Science, 12(2): 264–71. Available online at http://email.eva.mpg.de/~tomas/pdf/LiebalEtal_SharedExperience_2009.pdf (accessed 12 March 2011)


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Bruner, Jerome
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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