Language Acquisition Essay


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  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Language Acquisition
  • Language
  • Psychology
  • Cognition
  • Universal Grammar
  • Noam Chomsky
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    Language Acquisition



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                 The theory that there is a critical period for linguistic acquisition may be analysed through the indirect observation of cognitive learning to communicate. Whilst there are many human languages, all demonstrate a number of universal traits. This allows us to theorise that there is a critical period in which individuals may learn a language. The most significant comparison to justify this argument, is that of a young girl named Genie. Through her experience of learning her first language during the maturational stages of her life instead of infancy, we can take an insight into the biological and environmental factors in understanding speech.
                
    Richard Meier (1991) argued, through indirect evidence, that there was a stage from infancy to maturity in which an individual has the ability to learn a language. Studies conducted on individuals conclude that throughout different stages of maturity, older individuals of the study were at a disadvantage to learn a second language and allow us to understand that there may be both a biological and psycholinguistic reason. It is already understood that children have a greater short-term memory over adults but a decreased attention span, which may be attributed to the biological process of neuron growth before puberty and the decreased requirement of older subjects to communicate verbally to fulfill their physical needs to survive. Indirectly we can argue that a baby crying is communicating for its physical needs to survive and therefore is the first step in communicating a language.
                
    There is what is called a linguistic sensitivity in infancy; babies can hear all phonetic distinctions especially that of "Motherese". Motherese consists of a high pitch, repetitive voice, that is slowed with strong intonations and elevated contours. Through this modification in pronunciation we may suggest that infants can accumulate more information about speech, and learn more rapidly because they
                

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    • Language Acquisition Essay

    Language Acquisition Essay

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    Language is perceived as the way humans communicate through the use of spoken words, it involves particular system and styles in which we interact with one another (Oxford 2009). Possessing this ability to communicate through the use of language is thought to be a quintessential human trait (Pinker 2000). Learning a language, know as language acquisition, is something that every child does successfully within a few years. Language acquisition is in itself the development by which humans acquire the ability to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity involves the picking up of diverse abilities including phonetics, syntax and an extensive vocabulary. This language might be vocal as with speech or

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    Many Psychologists are concerned with this aspect of learning acquisition in children. One of the leading ideas based on behaviour was conveyed by Jean Piaget (Vygotsky). Piaget believed that Children learned from imitation from people around them, such as their parents and caretakers. Piaget’s theory is based on the idea that every aspect of language is learned.
    A theory averting from Piagets’ work is by the American Linguist Noam Chomsky. He believed that language is innate, skills governed by inborn programmes (Mason). Noam claimed that we are all born with a set of rules, known as Universal Grammar, which every human encompasses and differences in languages is just a variation of the use of this rule. He believed this, as he found that children still had the ability to effectively and correctly learn language even though most people when they speak continuously make mistakes, change their minds or use abbreviations. Another reason for Noam’s theory is that Children do not merely imitate the language that they hear around them, they attain rules from what they hear and are able to use them successfully in creating their own sentences which they might not have heard before. This considerably varies from what most behaviourists believe. Noam alleged that when a child hears their

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