In your opinion and based on scientific evidence, do you think scientific evidence supports a formalist view or a functionalist view on the relation between language and communication?

do you think that the need to communicate and/or the act of communication plays a role in the development of language form (i.e., syntax; morphology)?

You may use any empirical, rigorous scientific research as support however, do not use anecdotal evidence, or unpublished work. You should use 3 journal articles that report original data/studies as evidence.. Do not use textbooks, websites, chapters of edited books, review papers or meta-analyses as evidence. Please be sure to provide references for your empirical support (APA-format; with reference list and paper citations in text). Your paper must adhere to a 5-paragraph format that is detailed in writing assignment instruction link below.

What, if any, properties of children’s early communicative experience support their development of communicative skills and their development of language? How important is early communicative experience to later language development? Some argue that communication and early communicative experience is the primary driver or force behind later language development. That is, some theories explain language development as motivated by the urge to communicate. Others argue for a more moderate position saying that communicative interaction contributes to language development but is not the sole reason or purpose for language development. Both of these positions would be akin to the functionalist view of the relation between communication and language, that is, language is a system shaped and/or supported by the communicative functions it serves. Still, others argue for the formalist view of the relation between communication and language, that is, the structure and development of language has nothing to do with its communicative role. In your answer to the proposed question, you will want to consider whether you think there is evidence to link early communicative skill to later language development. You may want to consider research by Jean Berko-Gleason, Anne Fernald, Susan Goldin-Meadow, Michael Tomasello, Erika Hoff, Catherine Snow, Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker.


Mundy, P., & Gomes, A. (1998). Individual differences in joint attention skill development in the second year. Infant Behavior and Development, 21, 469-482. Preview the document

Rowe, M.L., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2009). Differences in early gesture explain SES disparities in child vocabulary size at school entry. Science, 323, 951-953.Preview the document

Tamis-LeMonda, C.S., Bornstein, M.H., Baumwell, L. (2001). Maternal responsiveness and children’s achievement of language milestones. Child Development, 72, 7488-767. Preview the document

Tomasello, M., & Farrar, M.J. (1986). Joint attention and early language. Child Development, 57, 1454-1463.

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