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Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214823.1999.x


A predominantly American learning theory developed earlier this century and associated with psychologists like Thorndike and Skinner. Learning is viewed as the development of stimulus-response associations through habit formation, habits being developed by practice and reinforcement. Complex behaviours are broken down into parts; see shaping . Behaviourism had a strong effect on both linguistics (particularly structuralism ) and language teaching, with audiolingualism attempting to apply its tenets. McDonough (1981) argues that language teaching based itself on a partial and soon outdated account of behaviourism. Chomsky (1959) bitterly attacked Skinner's (1957) application of behaviourism to language; see chomskyan linguistics . ( 1959 ). Review of Verbal Behavior by B. F. Skinner . Language , 35 , 26 – 58 . ( 1981 ). Psychology in Foreign Language Teaching London : Allen and Unwin . * ( 1957 ). Verbal Behavior . New York : Appleton Century-Crofts . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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