Intentionality is the Basis for the Social Foundations of Language Development

Bloom, Lois

The emphasis in social theories of language acquisition is usually on the part played by adults in constructing and guiding children’s social interactions. The goal of this paper is to shift the balance of influence to the child in social interactions for language learning. The driving force for children learning language comes from the strong impetus to express and interpret what they and others have in mind: their intentional states. With developments in memory and cognition, these contents of mind become both increasingly discrepant from events in the context and increasingly elaborated, with representations of more objects, actions, and relations between them. As a result, children need to learn more of the complexities of language for expression and interpretation. A supportive social environment is surely necessary, but the mind of the young child is the agent in the process of language acquisition.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Human Development
Published Here
November 20, 2017


Social Foundations of Language Development: Theoretical Issues, Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 1989.