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Language Acquisition: Different Approaches


Under the processes of globalization and integration, the development of new techniques and methods of language acquisition becomes even more important. The ongoing cultural exchange and intensified business contacts stimulate the determination of the most effective and fastest methods for language acquisition. The term paper is devoted to the comparison of behaviorist and rationalist approaches to language acquisition.

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The Differences in Scientific Methods

The scientific methods differ. They can be divided into behaviorist methods and rationalist ones. Nowadays most scholars think that both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Whereas the behaviorist approach considers a problem from psychological and philosophical concepts to some extent, the rationalists believe that only empirical methods should be used in research.

The Importance of Knowing the History of Language

Albert C. Baugh in his work on linguistics mentions that “it is not expected that everyone should be a philologist or should master the technicalities of linguistic science” (Baugh, p. 1). Certainly, he is right because there are a lot of different professions which require special knowledge and people have to spend more time on deepening their knowledge in their occupations. However, Baugh also states that “it is reasonable to assume that the liberally educated man should know something of the structure of his language, its position in the world and its relation to other tongues, the wealth of its vocabulary together with the sources from which that vocabulary has been and is being enriched, and in general the great political, social, and cultural influences which have combined to make his language what it is” (Baugh, p. 1).

The author of the book The Territory of Language: Linguistics, Stylistics, and the Teaching of Composition pays close attention to “the pedagogical strategies that could help students to establish more practiced authority over the skills needed to write effectively” (McQuade, p. 1). Without any doubt, the knowledge of the history of a mother tongue is crucial for everyone. In addition, without the basic knowledge of linguistics, it would be difficult to learn other languages.

The Differences between Behaviorist and Rationalist Approaches

The determination of the specific features of the behaviorist and rationalist approaches to language acquisition is necessary not only for the theory of linguistics but also for practical purposes. In contrast to the rationalist approach, the behaviorist one is based on situational analysis as well as the determination of the behavioral factors which impact the culture and language of a nation. The knowledge and understanding of these factors are important for the development of the methodologies for language acquisition.

The rationalist approach requires adherence to the fundamental principles of learning languages such as the enrichment of vocabulary, wording, and many others. It should be mentioned that the rationalist approach does not involve physiological concepts in linguistics research, while the behaviorists pay attention to them.


To summarize all above mentioned it should be said that the knowledge of the history of languages takes an important place in language acquisition. Modern linguistics uses the behaviorist and rationalist approaches each of which represents the specific methods to language acquisition. The knowledge of both approaches is important for a better understanding of the process of studying languages developed by different scholars.

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Works Cited

  1. Baugh, Albert. A history of the English language. 2nd ed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1959. Questia. Web. 2011.
  2. McQuade, Donald A. The Territory of Language: Linguistics, Stylistics, and the Teaching of Composition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986. Questia. Web. 2011.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 16). Language Acquisition: Different Approaches. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2022, January 16). Language Acquisition: Different Approaches.

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"Language Acquisition: Different Approaches." StudyCorgi, 16 Jan. 2022,

1. StudyCorgi. "Language Acquisition: Different Approaches." January 16, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "Language Acquisition: Different Approaches." January 16, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "Language Acquisition: Different Approaches." January 16, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Language Acquisition: Different Approaches'. 16 January.

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