Lending Library Analogy

When talking about Cognitivists and their view of FLA, we have to mention the environment as a source of input. Here’s an analogy that we use at SMU-TESOL:

Input can be compared to a lending library, a place where you borrow books. People go to libraries to borrow books that interest them. But this is no ordinary lending library. In fact, it is filled not with books, but with rules – linguistic rules. This library has shelves filled with the totality of all the rules parents use. This library is not visited by adults. Rather, it is visited by young children. When children go there, they take the books that they are biologically ready to take. That is, when a child reaches a certain age, s/he will reach up and select the rules that are right for that stage.

The lending library analogy is really good at capturing the relationship between environment and child. Here, parents make rules available. It’s the child who makes the selection.

Filed Under: Language issues

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