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Functionalism

Language can be considered from two perspectives: functionalism or structure. Functionalism has three faces. That is, there are three different ways to deal with functionalism: reinforcement, simulation, and basic cognitive and communicative language functions.

Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement functions to increase behaviors. Negative reinforcement functions to decrease behaviors. Increasing and decreasing frequencies of behavior reflect habit strength but not learning. True learning occurs when something new occurs rather than when behaviors increase or decrease in frequency. Interestingly, particular behaviors with low frequencies presumably are more available for learning than behaviors with high frequencies.

The foremost scholars of language acquisition have been steadfast over the previous five decades that reinforcement in general, and frequency in particular, do not provide appropriate evidence of language acquisition. Indeed, if frequency is too ...

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