Language Acquisition and Development
The acquisition of language is not solely biological, environmental or cultural. The ability to produce language appears to be innate and the ability to produce and understand a specific language is environmental and cultural.
Being able to produce sounds that form words to communicate thoughts and feelings that are universal within a cultural is what seems to set humans apart from other intelligent animals. Further, because infants start to develop language skills at similar time frames suggests there is a biological basis for language development. Linguist Noam Chomsky referred to this ability as the “language acquisition device (LAD)” and described it as an innate ability for children “to detect the features and rules of language…” (Santrock, 2011, p. 344). Essentially what this means is that Chomsky theorized human beings are genetically predisposed for language development. And biologically speaking, evolution supports this theory since communication gave human beings a survival edge over other animals (Santrock, 2011). Additionally, if there was not a biological component to language acquisition then such things as aphasia would not exist universally; aphasia, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, is damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language (“Aphasia Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)”).
Other evidence that suggests language has a biological influence is the case of “Genie, the wild child.” Genie was a young girl who was discovered by social workers in the 1970s to have been severely abused and neglected by her parents. Genie was kept in total isolation during her childhood and whenever she attempted to make a sound, she was beaten by her father (Santrock, 2011). After Genie was rescued and given extensive speech/language and physical rehabilitation, she eventually developed rudimentary...