Language Theory ENGL
May 13, 2013
Nature vs. Nurture in Language Acquisition
Language is the greatest achievement of the human race. Language is also something that all average human beings can do. This ability is present even if no other exemplary characteristics are present. A common human may not have any extraordinary abilities for art, music, or mathematics; however, they are able to speak and communicate with language. If one stops to think about it, language is quite remarkable. The average adult human can speak approximately 150 words per minute and has an average of 20,000 – 40,000 words and options to choose from. An average child, by the age of 5, can already produce approximately 6000 words and has an excellent command of both grammar and phonetics. (Bates)
The magnitude of this tasks and the speed in which humans can attain this monumental feat has caused the study and debate of multiple language acquisition theories. The battle of how we learn languages started many years ago and continuous to thunder on with no end in site. Some experts believe that all humans are born with the ability to speak as if it is pre-programmed into the brain. Others believe that we learn by mimicking those around us and that the human brain is so powerful that it can quickly learn, memorize and retain information. Some believe that the need for communication and interaction is so strong that we learn languages in order to fulfill the need to communicate and be social. In this essay, we will discuss nature vs, nurture; the areas surrounding language formation, and acquisition.
To understand the nature vs nurture discussion, one must understand speech and the basic parts of communication are formed. One Must look at how speech is formed and the most basic parts of language components. Speech and its sounds can be broken into two distinct groups of study, Phonetics and Phonology. Phonetics is the branch of linguistics that studies the sounds of...