Language Acquisition

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From the moment a child arrives to this world is exposed to an endless of signals and stimulations that the brain begins to assimilate. Lights, colors and sounds which will be a part of the new born life until his death. One of the first stimuli received by the baby is the voice from the parents. These voices are translated into sounds by the phonological system, some months later into meanings then complete words and eventually, some years later, into sentences. These four steps could summarize the acquisition of the language which even not being taught it is one of the longest and most laborious processes for the child. In Sapir’s words “Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious …show more content…

This process has been the subject of study of linguists, philosophers and psychologists throughout the history trying to understand and explain how a child makes the use of a language so spontaneously and how they learn it so accurately without any overt instruction.
The question is how can children acquire a language and be able to use it in a so astonishing way?
For the purposes of this essay I will focus on the process of language acquisition and the importance and influence of the environment as well as how Nature and nurture interact to support its complexity and elaboration throughout a human’s life.
Language acquisition starts at birth. The child is exposed to a spoken language and the Phonological system starts working. This system is responsible of recognizing the sound of a language. This spoken language entails phonemes, phonotactics, stress pattern and intonation system all of them included in the same received sound. Therefore, children have to differentiate all these elements every time they are exposed to the speech of those close to them and somehow children do that and they are not only able to differentiate the elements found in their native languages but also switch languages with this language’s characteristics if they are exposed to another language …show more content…

Even if genetically we are designed to acquire a language, the communication with people sharing the same language’s characteristics is essential. This interaction’s crucial role would explain the obvious nurture importance in the process of acquiring a language.
Many linguists have defended the importance of the environment and experiences in the acquisition of a language. Piaget argued that language is not the direct result of an innate characteristic but a capacity related to cognitive development. There are many social and linguistic factors which determine the development of this process. Moreover those factors interact and depend on each other.
Even some linguists like B.F Skinner (1957), convinced of the absence of innate skills in the acquisition of a language, developed the Behaviorism theory, attributing the acquisition of the language to environmental factors. Asserting that the acquisition is based on mechanisms like the imitation.
With these theories we could assume that the adults’ role has great relevance since a human being can only become human when is raised in a human’s

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