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I have always taken a very “grey area” approach to
the Nature vs. Nurture approach while I have known some people to view this
issue as very black and white. This section of the reading really confirmed my
assumption as to not being completely one sided, especially in this area of
language acquisition.

The behaviorist approach to language acquisition as described by
Brown is the physical or surface level parts of language. This means that
behaviorists look at the literal words, and sentences that are spoken and their
meanings in connection with other things and observe them (pp. 26). This
approach focuses on learning language through repetition and listening. The
example Brown used to explain this theory is if a child asks for milk and their
parent gives them milk then they will connect that language to receiving the

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Nativist approach believes that language acquisition is more
biological and innate. People who approach language acquisition in this way believe
we are already born with a certain ability to learn and acquire language

After reading this section, the
way that I understand competence and performance as interdependent is that
competence is a guessed upon factor of the performance of a person. In other
words, you cannot make an inference on someone’s competence without first
reviewing their performance. An example of this in my own life is from when I played
soccer. If my coach tried teaching me a field tactic, he could watch me try and
attempt it, but my performance could have been weakened due to other factors,
like not having the endurance it takes, even if I still had competency of the

My first thoughts are obviously shock and compassion
for Genie. I also at first wondered if the treatments and studies done on her
continued to harm or endanger her. This quickly went away after hearing the
linguist speak so fondly and caringly for her.

 “Language is not just words, language is
grammar, language is sentences, how do you make a sentence?, how do you know it
is a sentence?” Susan Curtiss spoke about how language is more than just words,
it is everything surrounding words, grammar, sentences, and everything
cognitive and not cognitive around words as well.

I think Genie was unable to fully grasp language
because of how stunted her growth was from such a young age. Without the
necessary stimulation and interaction, her brain was stunted and therefore unable
to ever fully recover.

This case tells us that human interaction is of
upmost importance in first language acquisition. Without enough stimuli and
human relationship adequate language acquisition is impossible.



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