Models of Child Language Development

  • Lynn S. Snyder
  • D. Elise Lindstedt
Part of the Current Issues in Autism book series (CIAM)


To those individuals interested in the nature of child language development, the major controversy of the twentieth century involved the class of two distinct schools of thought: behaviorism and nativism. The controversy came to the fore in 1957 with the publication of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior and Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures. Emerging from different philosophical and scientific traditions, Skinner and Chomsky presented highly contrasting points of view. Skinner, on the one hand, came from the empiricist tradition. This tradition stressed the idea that theories could only be derived after documented observation of perceptible events. One did not begin an inquiry with a theory to test. Rather, one carefully observed repeated instances of events and from these data formulated a theory. Thus, knowledge was derived from the information that one could perceive and measure. Coming from this milieu, it is no surprise that Skinner (1957) viewed language as simple, one more form of human behavior, albeit verbal, that one could observe, count, and quantify.


Language Development Language Intervention Child Language Candidate Rule Applied Behavioral Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn S. Snyder
    • 1
  • D. Elise Lindstedt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Speech Pathology and AudiologyUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

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