Social interactionist theory

Social Interactionist Theory is number of proven hypotheses of language acquisition methods in which a variety of its forms including written, spoken, or visual as a social tool consisting of a complex system of symbols and rules on the question of language acquisition and development—the compromise between “nature” and “nurture” is the “Interactionist” approach which demands a particular type of syntagma in recognizing that many factors influence language development. >

Interactionist/Transactional Theory
So far we have discussed two divergent ends of the nature-nurture continuum of language development. The behaviorist theory emphasizes the role of the environment in learning language whereas the innate theory focuses on internal biological capacities for language acquisition. A compromise between these two perspectives is the social interactionist theory (Bohannon & Warren-Leubecker, 1989). By merging the nature-nurture theories, the social interactionists view language development as a product of both nature and nurture. In other words, a child´s language is developed through the interaction of her biological make-up and the impact of her environment (Polloway, Miller, & Smith, 2004). More specifically, this theory emphasizes the social or pragmatic function of language development.

According to supporters of the social interaction theory, therefore, infants begin to develop language through social interactions with their caregivers. In fact, much of the child´s purposes for learning language are socially related. From the time they are born, infants influence the behaviors of their caretakers with their crying, body gestures, and facial expressions. Parents and caretakers in turn respond to these communicative actions with verbal language, establishing the roots for future language development. When the child begins to produce verbal language sounds, the adult responds with more complex forms. Then the child imitates the more complex form, and so on. For example, a child points to a cookie jar and says, “Cookie.” Her father responds, “Cookie? Do you want a cookie? What do you say?” The child smiles and says, “cookie, peas,” which is rewarded with her father giving her a cookie. In this cyclical pattern, children learn more complicated and sophisticated language forms and the corresponding social skills (Hulit & Howard, 1998). We will return to this theory in future lessons when we discuss communication and methods for intervention. >


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