The Science Behind How We Acquire Language

By Stephen M

The ability of humans to decode meanings from language has been amazing. Within a split second, we can produce meaning to spoken or written words while putting them together. This comes naturally and is done with no stress at all.

Babies take at most nine months to pick up and understand some basic words spoken around them. At most, by the age, they learn frequent words like mum or dad. They then graduate to combining a few words by their second year. Unless restricted by a medical disorder, every child should learn and understand any of the 6500 languages in the world.

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How Do We Learn Language

Cognitive scientists have not been able to explain how we acquire a language fully. They aren’t alone in this, as educators, philosophers, AI researchers, and psychologists are also struggling to explain. Despite the numerous research into the subject, we’ve still not had a conclusive answer. However, some proposed solutions have been provided.

Early researchers suggested that picking a language is almost the same bracket as verbal behavior training. They likened it to a pigeon learning to make a pirouette, which may take time. So when children are rewarded, it encourages them to learn more. The rewards should, however, be more than just something edible. It should be more praise and attention from the parents to encourage them to learn.

However, in the 1950s, some researchers objected to the theory that we learn language through training. They believe it is by nature and nurture. According to them, comparing a language learning kid to a pigeon-making pirouette is a mismatch. To them, a child already has a language mind and a built-in instinct precondition to acquire, understand, and speak a language. For this reason, children develop language with no stress and quickly.

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Others also believe that language acquisition is through both nature and nurture. They argue that just as computers understand language through its fed, the same applies to the human brain. But others also disagree with this assertion. The debate and research keep going as we try to find a definite answer.